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Blender Wiki PDF Manual 



About Blender Wiki PDF Manual About Blender Wiki PDF Manual 

About Blender Wiki PDF Manual 

This is an unofficial PDF version of the Blender Wiki Manual pages. 

I produced this PDF copy for my personal use since I needed it to learn using Blender, and I could not find an 
up to date alternative to my knowledge. I've read that Blender documentation is released under the Open 
Content License ( http://opencontent.org/opl.shtml ). This license is reported at the end of this pages, below. I 
am trying to stick to this licence, but i'm no license expert: if you feel something is wrong, just let me know 
why and possibly how to fix. 

The short story 

I did not modify the content of the wiki pages except for removing the parts typical of a web page, which are 
not needed in a "book", since you don't have to browse through web links, but scroll pages. 

Since Blender developers are incredibly fast, documentors have always hard times to keep up with that speed, 
but every week there is something new or updated on the wiki manual. Documentors do a great job, but their 
work goes easily unnoticed because of the high number of the single pages involved: they're hundreds, and 
Blender developers they're fast! 

Discussing this PDF conversion with other users, I explained that my "method" allows me to update the PDF 
with the actual web pages quite easily so I told that, if needed, it won't be difficult to update that PDF every 
month. Many people agreed, and that is what i'm trying to do. I hope that one day there will be an 
automatically generated PDF directly produced from the wiki. Until then, I plan to keep this PDF updated 
regularly, and possibly other useful sources of knowledge about Blender, found on its official wiki or web 
site. 

The whole story 

I needed an offline manual... 

I don't have an internet connection at home, where most of my Blender experiment take place, and always 
needed a help for learning something I didn't know, or a new feature i've read of on BlenderNation, or 
elsewhere. I always had to wait until tomorrow, or until monday, if you get what I mean. It was frustrating. I 
followed a small Character Animation Course for beginners, in the city where I live and they used Maya PLE 
(which it's free to download but does watermarked renderings and does not import/export too much, btw), and 
although I hated the interface and find it much more uncomfortable than Blender, which I was used to, I had 
no problem in learning stuff about it because there was a big complete manual and reference, also in the free, 
hmited edition. 

I had to build one. 

That was two years ago. Recently, I investigated a bit and found out that there could be a method to: 

1 . retrieve all the links to the web pages of the wiki manual ( http://wild.blender.org/index.php/Manual ) 

2. download those pages in the right order, with all the images and external links 

3. convert them to a single pdf, ps or html file. 

4. fix any possible error and weirdness up to my satisfaction. 

5. add pdf bookmarks in order to easily browse chapters and topics . 

During the last months i tried different tools in order to to this job better and easily, but actually all the job is 
done with: 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 1 



About Blender Wiki PDF Manual The long road towards perfection ;) 

• Firefox ( http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/ ): well, i needed a browser, and Firefox is my choice 

• PHP . In order to have the correct sequence of pages in the PDF book, I needed to collect all the 
needed wiki web page links (over 250 of them) in the right order. Easily collect links is not difficult, 
there are many ways and utilities, but I had to be sure the order of the list obtained was the right one. 

In the past months I used Linky ( http://gemal.dk/mozilla/linky.html ). but I ended up not being 
satisfied: it does a pretty job but always removes duplicate links and I had issues with this behaviour. 
In fact, *there are* duplicate pages in the current Blender Manual Wiki pages, mainly because some 
topics belong to or are referred from different chapters. So I ended up writing a PHP script, based on a 
small URL-retrieving script i found on the net (sorry i forgot where, search for "function crawl_page" 
on google.com) that collects all the link that are needed, leaves duplicate links if I need and I'm happy 
this way... 

• HTMLdoc ( http://www.htmldoc.org/) : this great GPL software can load html files or download web 
pages, convert them to a single pdf, ps or html file, allowing you to set-up the conversion in many 
ways. With this software, you have to setup a "book" file, which contains all the needed settings 
(quality, options etc) and an ordered list of html files, or links to web pages to convert in a single 
output document. 

• Jpdfbookmarks : this is a free CLI and GUI Java tool to import/export and edit PDF bookmarks, and it 
really was the solution for this. It requires a bit of manual work and patience but not too much to be 
worried :) I also reported some bugs /whishes to the author, and he was kind enough to fix bugs and 
add features really fast. Great! 

The long road towards perfection ;) 

When i had the first usable result, it became clear to me that other people could benefit from it, so i decided to 
share it through a free web service. At that time I got 19 small PDFs, one for each main section of the manual, 
and then I published the links to the files on the Blender forum 
( http://www.blender.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13461 ). 

There some user asked for a single PDF, which I thought was a good thing, but I was a bit worried of the 
resulting size, since most of the wiki manual pages have many pictures (both JPG and PNG formats); then 
another user, Nathan Letwory aka jesterKing, kindly offered a permanent space on a web site he owns, and so 
I did. I simply joined the 19 small files into a big one, obtaining a huge PDF that was over 1700 pages and 
about 87 MB in size. 

That result was a bit rough, though: all the menus, logos, navigational links were still there, as HTMLdoc 
decided to keep them as part of the information of the source web pages. Plus, a part of the many (over 1500) 
images of the wiki were PNGs, part JPGs, part GIFs. PNGs are good for quality because they use a lossless 
algorithm but also bigger than JPGs. So I improved that document a bit: removing headers, footers, menus, 
and other unneeded things in a book, inserting te creation date/time, page numbers, some headers, and 
converting all the images to JPGs (i was worried to preserve the PNG quality, so i converted them using a 
100% quality setting in HTMLdoc), and that alone reduced the size to a much smaller 52 MB. In order to 
remove part of the HTML before passing it to HTMLdoc, i ended up writing a small CLI php script which 
downloads all the pages, preprocess them a bit, and saves the fixed files in a local folder. 

Then I noticed that other parts of the wiki could benefit (to be shared and printed) from being converted to a 
handy PDF format. They were: 

• Script Catalog from http://wild.blender.org/index.php/Scripts/Catalog 

• Reference from http://wild.blender.org/index.php/Reference 

• Release Logs irom http://www.blender.org/development/release-logs 

and converted them, too, in the same way, and Nathan agreed that they could be interesting and useful, so he 
hosted them and published the links on his site. 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 2 



About Blender Wiki PDF Manual How i get it as it is now. 

Some user complained about the size, and some problems in the PDFs: no bookmarks, and several broken 
internal links between pages. I noticed those problems, too, but since there were no alternatives to those PDF 
for blender users i preferred to share the documents as they were anyway, for the moment. 

So I tried to improve them a bit: for the size problem, i used 85% JPG compression (setting in HTMLdoc), 
and that alone squeezed the size by a rough 50%! And with almost no visible quality loss! I shoud have tried 
that before... 

Then i found a way to overcome the lack of bookmarks: HTMLdoc should automatically generate bookmarks 
from HTML tags like HI, H2, and so on but unfortunately it did not work with my HTML files. In such a 
huge wiki work, there are differences organizazion, styles and tags between the over 250 web pages it's build 
of! And HTMLdoc gives strange result or even crashes if you set it to build bookmarks. Fortunately i tried 
another solution! Jpdfbookmarks. 

Now, the size of the manual is about 25MB, it has full bookmarks and almost no trace of its specific web page 
design. External links (tutorials, tools, references,) are working, and as in the online wiki, you can click on 
any image to get its original version. You can print the manual, and you can search it full-text. Good! 

Still, there are some (minor) problems: 

• internal links are broken: some of them work and some do not. I don't know why. When they work, 
often they jump to the "previous" page they refer to. Try to advance of one page, in case; 

• there are strange symbols here and there: the HTMLdoc version I heve is not UTF-8 compatible, it 
renders web pages using ISO-8859-x encodings. I use ISO-8859-1 since i think it's the best for 
english Language. New versions or other tools may improve this aspect, in the future. Is not 
something that makes text difficult to understand, though. 

As soon as i'll find a good and easy solution, i'll fix them ! 

How i get it as it is now. 

The workflow i use now is this: 

• Open the Wiki Manual main page (" http://wild.blender.org/index.php/Manual ') in Firefox 

• Use a PHP script to download all the useful links in that page, in the right order, and save all the links in a 
txt file. 

• Copy all the page titles and sections from that page (as simple text) in a different TXT file, to later create 
bookmarks for the PDF. 

• Execute the php script that downloads locally and fixes all the pages, and creates the settings file for 
HTMLdoc. 

• Run HTMLdoc and wait for it to finish its job. Having also to download and convert images, it takes half 
an hour, approximately. 

• Edit the bookmark TXT aside of the PDF to check and fix wrong page numbers, and so on. 

• Apply that bookmark layout to the PDF, with Jpdfbookmarks (CLI) 

• Fix some of the PDF bookmarks settings interactively, with Jpdfbookmarks (GUI) 

• Send the files to Nathan :) 

I could post the php scripts, but I'm not a great programmer, you know :D and PHP it is so easy. 

About thiis file 

This is the last result I had: due to PHP preprocessing pages, I got: 

• much improved readability, i think. Let me know. 

• less pages (stripped all headers, footers, menus): around 1350. Only! :) 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 3 



About Blender Wiki PDF Manual Known issues 

• Over 1750 images included. 

• size is just around 25 MB 

• there are now full PDF bookmarks 

• added a few pages before to include blender documentation license and a description of my work. 

You should be able to know what's changed since the last release browsing here: 
http://wiki.blender.0rg/index.php/Special:Recentchangeslinked/Manual 

Known issues 

I feel that many of the issues i know of are related to the complex HTML used in so many pages. I should 
eventually strip anything that is not needed, and could cause problems. 

• Size is huge (well, no more huge but., still big!) : there are many many big images and they're useful. 
I could reduce quality setting for JPGs below 85%, if needed but quality will suffer. Compressing the 
PDF does not change much the size (tried 7z ultra) 

• There could be wrong PDF bookmarks: that's my fault since, still assisted by Jpdfbookmarks, i have 
to make bookmarks and page numbers refer each other :) thell me what's wrong, i'll fix it. 

• Many internal links are broken: some of them work and some do not. I don't know why. When they 
work, often they jump to the "previous" page they refer to. Try to advance of one page, in case. 

• There are strange symbols here and there: HTMLdoc is not UTF-8 compatible, it renders web pages 
using ISO-8859-X encodings. I use ISO-8859-1 since i think it's the best for english Language. New 
versions or other tools may improve this aspect, in the future. Is not something that makes text 
difficult to understand, though. 

My modifications to wil<i pages 

The "processing" I'm referring to is, basically, remove graphical page headers, footers, menus, and other 
minor html tags that could alter the PDF page structure or distract the eye from the real docs text and pics. The 
basic principle I follow is: I want to keep only the documentation text and pics, and external links if needed, 
without anything else, and keep the readability as best as I can. 

I hope to be able to be able to convert those wiki docs to pdf until there's a better alternative but, as web 
content can obviously change, something may go wrong. I can't double check all the pages any time. It will 
surely improve my Blender knowledge :D but there are simply too many pages. If you note some weirdness or 
broken section, let me know, i'll try to fix it. 

Where to find this PDF 

Up to now, you should be able to find it here: http://www.letworvinteractive.eom/b/category/blender/ . If any 
change should happen, i'U post on major forums/blogs for everyone to know. 

Alternatives 

To my knowledge. See: 

1. http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Meta/Wiki to PDF 

2. http://www.blender.it/manuali.html (bottom of the page) 

3. http://www.blender3d.org/e-shop/product info.php?products id=79 

4. http://www.blendernation.com/2006/04/20/download-the-blender-manual/ 

5. Download the entire html structure on your PC with tools like wget or winhttrack 

Obviously, there are other books or tutorials or videos/dvd about Blender you can download or buy. They're 
29/01/2009 13.49.52 4 



About Blender Wiki PDF Manual How to contact me 

all useful stuff. Here I am referring only to offline versions of the official Blender manual. 

How to contact me 

I do this in the spare time so i can't spend too much time on it but if you want to suggest me improvements or 
other ways to do this, or alternatives, please feel free to do so. Here's how: "m.ardito" is the username and the 
domain is "libero.it". you know how to use them ;). Please don't post the "reconstructed" address, in no web 
page, blog, mailing list or newsgroup, anywhere. I already have enough spam to deal with! Thanks. 

Have fun! Marco Ardito 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



Open Content License Open Content License 

Open Content License 

OpenContent License (OPL) 

Version 1.0, July 14, 1998. 

This document outlines the principles underlying the OpenContent (OC) 
movement and may be redistributed provided it remains unaltered. 
For legal purposes, this document is the license under which 
OpenContent is made available for use . 

The original version of this document may be found at 
http : //opencontent . org/opl . shtml 

LICENSE 

Terms and Conditions for Copying, Distributing, and Modifying 

Items other than copying, distributing, and modifying the Content 
with which this license was distributed (such as using, etc.) are 
outside the scope of this license. 

1 . You may copy and distribute exact replicas of the OpenContent 

(OC) as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously 
and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice 
and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to 
this License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any other 
recipients of the OC a copy of this License along with the OC . You may 
at your option charge a fee for the media and/or handling involved in 
creating a unigue copy of the OC for use offline, you may at your 
option offer instructional support for the OC in exchange for a fee, 
or you may at your option offer warranty in exchange for a fee . You 
may not charge a fee for the OC itself. You may not charge a fee 
for the sole service of providing access to and/or use of the OC via 
a network (e.g. the Internet), whether it be via the world wide web, 
FTP, or any other method. 

2 . You may modify your copy or copies of the OpenContent or any portion 
of it, thus forming works based on the Content, and distribute such 
modifications or work under the terms of Section 1 above, provided that 
you also meet all of these conditions: 

a) You must cause the modified content to carry prominent notices 
stating that you changed it, the exact nature and content of the 
changes, and the date of any change. 

b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in 
whole or in part contains or is derived from the OC or any part 
thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties 
under the terms of this License, unless otherwise permitted under 
applicable Fair Use law. 

These reguirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If 
identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the OC, and 
can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in 
themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those 
sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you 
distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based 
on the OC, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this 
License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire 
whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it. 
Exceptions are made to this reguirement to release modified works 
free of charge under this license only in compliance with Fair Use 
law where applicable . 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 6 



Open Content License Open Content License 



3. You are not required to accept this License, since you have not 
signed it. However, nothing else grants you permission to copy, 
distribute or modify the OC . These actions are prohibited by law 
if you do not accept this License. Therefore, by distributing or 
translating the OC, or by deriving works herefrom, you indicate 
your acceptance of this License to do so, and all its terms and 
conditions for copying, distributing or translating the OC . 

NO WARRANTY 

4. BECAUSE THE OPENCONTENT (OC) IS LICENSED FREE OF CHARGE, THERE 
IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE OC, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE 
LAW. EXCEPT WHEN OTHERWISE STATED IN WRITING THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS 
AND/OR OTHER PARTIES PROVIDE THE OC "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF 
ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED 
TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A 
PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THE ENTIRE RISK OF USE OF THE OC IS WITH YOU. 
SHOULD THE OC PROVE FAULTY, INACCURATE, OR OTHERWISE UNACCEPTABLE 
YOU ASSUME THE COST OF ALL NECESSARY REPAIR OR CORRECTION. 

5. IN NO EVENT UNLESS REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE LAW OR AGREED TO IN 
WRITING WILL ANY COPYRIGHT HOLDER, OR ANY OTHER PARTY WHO MAY 
MIRROR AND/OR REDISTRIBUTE THE OC AS PERMITTED ABOVE, BE LIABLE 
TO YOU FOR DAMAGES, INCLUDING ANY GENERAL, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL 
OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE USE OR INABILITY TO 
USE THE OC, EVEN IF SUCH HOLDER OR OTHER PARTY HAS BEEN ADVISED 
OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



Open Content License 



Introduction 



Introduction 



Introduction 
Installing Blender 

The Interface 

Interface Concepts 

Keyboard and Mouse 

Window System 

Window Types 

Screens (Workspace 

Layouts) 

Scenes 

Configuration 

Contexts 

Menus 

Panels 

Buttons and Controls 



Your First Animation 

Your First Animation in 30 + 30 Minutes 

Parti 

Your First Animation in 30 + 30 Minutes 

Part II 

The Vital Functions 

File Open/Save. Quick Render. Default 

m 

User Preferences 

Undo and Redo 

Blender's Library and Data System 

Help Me! Help Me! 



Interaction in 3D 



Introduction 
Navigating in 3D Space 

Introduction 

Using the 3D 

View 

3D View 

Options 

Camera View 

Layers 

Local or Global 

View 
Grease Pencil 

Grease Pencil 



Manipulation in 3D Space 
Introduction 
Hotkeys 
Manipulators 
Manual/Gestures 
Axis Locking 
Pivot Points 
Proportional Edit 
Transform 
Orientations 
Transform 
Properties 



Scene Management 



Introduction 

Working with 

Scenes 

The Outliner 

Window 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



Open Content License 



Modelling 



Appending and 
Linking 



Modelling 



Objects 



Meshes 



Introduction Curves 

Objects 

Selecting in 

Object Mode Surfaces 

Editing Objects 

Groups and 

Parenting 

Duplication Text 

Tracking 

Meshes 

Mesh Structures 

Mesh Primitives 

Mesh Smoothing 

Selecting Meshes 

Basic Mesh Tools 

Advanced Mesh 

Tools Scripts 

Edge and Face 

Tools 

Snap to Mesh 

Vertex Groups 

Weight Paint 

Subdivision 

Surfaces 

Multi Resolution 

Mesh 

Sculp tMode 

Retopo 



Curves 

Editing Curves 
Curves Deform 



Surfaces 
Editing Surfaces 
Surfaces Skinning 



Editing Text 
Meta Objects 

Meta Objects 

Editing Meta Objects 
Duplication 

Duplicate at Vertices 

(Dupliverts) 

Duplicate for each Frame 

(Dupliframes) 



Modelling Scripts 



Modifiers & Deformation 



Introduction 


Explode 


Modifier 


Hooks 


Stack 


Lattice 


Armature 


Mask 


Array 


Mesh 


Bevel 


Deform 


Boolean 


Mirror 


Build 


Particle 


Cast 


Instance 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



Open Content License 



Lighting 



Cloth 


Smooth 


Modifier 


Softbodv 


Curve 


Subsurf 


Decimate 


UVProject 


Displace 


Wave 


EdfjeSplit 





Lighting 



Introduction 
Lamp Types 

Lamp Types and Common Options 

Lamp 

Spot Lamp 

Area Lamp 

Hemi Lamp 

Sun Lamp 
Lighting Rigs 

Lighting Rigs 



Shadows and Halos 

Raytraced Shadows 
Buffer Shadows 
Volumetric Halos 

Radiosity 

Introduction 
Radiosity Rendering 
Radiosity Baking 

{see also Materials->Ambient 
Light s 



l\/laterials 



{see also Worlds->Ambient 
Occlusion ) 



Introduction 

Using Materials 

Material 

Preview 

Diffuse Shaders 

Specular 

Shaders 

Material 

Options 

Color Ramps 

Raytraced 

Reflections 

Raytraced 

Transparency 



Multiple Materials 

Halos 

Window-Node 

Editor 

General-Using 

Nodes 

Node Materials 

Material Node 

Types 

Ambient Light 

Subsurface 

Scattering (SSS) 



Textures 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



10 



Open Content License UV Unwrapping & Texturing 



Introduction 


Texture Options 


Texture 


Texture Options 


Channels 


Procedural 


Map Input 


Textures 


Map To 


Ima^e Textures 


Bump and 


Animated Ima^e 


Normal Maps 


Textures 


Displacement 


Environment 


Maps 


Maps 




Texture Plu^ins 



UV Unwrapping & Texturing 



Introduction 

Using Vertex Paint 

UV Unwrapping 

Explained 

Unwrapping a Mesh 

Working with UV 

Editing the UV Layout 

Using Images as UV 

Textures 

Using Texture Paint 



Worlds & Bacl^grounds 



Introduction Mist 

World Stars 

Background Physics 

Ambient 

Occlusion 

Exposure 



Animation Basics 



Introduction Animation by Basic Deformation 
General Principles and Tools Available Deformations 

Ipo Types Shape Keys 

Creating Ipo Keyframes Absolute Shape Keys 

Editing Ipo Curves and Deforming by a Lattice 

Keyframes Other Resources 
The Timeline - The Timeline Reference: Editing Ipos 

Window BSOD: Constraints and Axis Locks 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 11 



Open Content License 



Character Animation & Armatures 



Animation by Moving Objects Around 
Following a Path 
Changing Object Layers 



Hook Modifier to animate mesh 
deformation 



Character Animation & Armatures 



Introduction 


Inverse 


Armature 


Kinematics 


Objects 


Mesh 


Editing 


Skin 


Armatures 


Weighting 


Posing 


The 


Armatures 


Action 




Editor 




Non 




Linear 




Animation 



Constraints 



Introduction 


Floor 


Constraint 


Locked 


Stack 


Track 


Child Of 


Follow 


Transformation 


Path 


Copv 


Clamp 


Location 


lo 


Copv 


Stretch 


Rotation 


lo 


Copv 


Rigid 


Scale 


Body 


Limit 


Joint 


Location 


IK 


Limit 


Solver 


Rotation 


Action 


Limit 


Script 


Scale 


Null 


Track 




To 





Advanced Animation 



Introduction 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



12 



Open Content License 



Effects & Physical Simulation 



Ipo Drivers 
Python Ipo 
Drivers 



Effects & Physical Simulation 



Introduction 

Particles 

Static Particles (Hair and 

Fur) 

Soft Bodies 



Force Fields 
& Deflection 
Rigid Bodies 
Fluids 
Cloth 



Rendering 



Introduction 

Output Panel 

Options 

Oversampling 

CAntiahasing') 

Rendering Options 

Render Bake 

Rendering 

Animations 

Output Formats 

Using Render 

Layers 

The Render Passes 



Perspective rArchitecturaP Rendering 

Preparing Your Work for Video 

YafRav 

Rendering From Command Line 

Tips to Speed Up Rendering and Avoid / Work- Around Render 

Crash 



Compositing 



Introduction 

Compositing Node Editor 
Window 
General-Using 
Compositing Nodes 
Using Nodes for 
Composition 
Compositing Nodes 

Compositing Nodes 
Input Nodes 
Output Nodes 
Color Nodes 
Vector Nodes 



Common composition node setups 
Using Vector Blur 

Using Nodes to Blur Your Background 
Using Nodes to Simulate Depth of Field 
(DOF) 
Using Nodes to Enhance Photographs 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



13 



Open Content License 



Video Sequence Editing 



Filter Nodes 
Convertor Nodes 
Matte Nodes 
Distortion Nodes 



Video Sequence Editing 



Introduction 

Video Sequence Screen 

Layout 

VSE Preview Modes 

Using the Video 

Sequence Editor 

Using Built-in Effects 

Using Plugin Effects 



Common Tasks and Workflow 

Working with Blender for Video 

Editing 

Organizing your Video Files 

Examples of Video Editing 
Audio Support 

Audio Sequences 



Extending Blender 



Introduction 
Bundled Scripts 
Python Scripting 
Blender's Plugins 
System 



Other 

Resources 

Catalog 
of all 
Scripts 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



14 



Introduction Introduction 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.48a 



Introduction 

Welcome to Blender! The documentation of Blender consists of many parts: this user manual, a reference 
guide, tutorials, fomms, and many other web resources. The first part of this manual will guide you through 
downloading Blender, installation, and if you elect to download the sources, building an executable file to run 
on your machine. 

Blender has a very unusual interface, highly optimized for 3D graphics production. This might be a bit 
confusing to a new user, but will prove its strength in the long run. You are highly recommended to read our 
section on The Interface carefully, both to get familiar with the interface and with the conventions used in the 
documentation. 



What is Blender? 

Blender was first conceived in December 1993 and born as a usable product in August 1994 as an integrated 
application that enables the creation of a broad range of 2D and 3D content. Blender provides a broad 
spectmm of modeling, texturing, lighting, animation and video post-processing functionality in one package. 
Through it's open architecture. Blender provides cross-platform interoperability, extensibility, an incredibly 
small footprint, and a tightly integrated workflow. Blender is one of the most popular Open Source 3D 
graphics application in the world. 

Aimed world-wide at media professionals and artists. Blender can be used to create 3D visualizations, stills 
as well as broadcast and cinema quality videos, while the incorporation of a real-time 3D engine allows for 
the creation of 3D interactive content for stand-alone playback. 

Originally developed by the company 'Not a Number' (NaN), Blender now is continued as 'Free Software', 
with the source code available under the GNU GPL license. It now continues development by the Blender 
Foundation in the Netherlands. 

Key Features: 

• Fully integrated creation suite, offering a broad range of essential tools for the creation of 3D content, 
including modeling, uv-mapping, texturing, rigging, skinning, animation, particle and other 
simulation, scripting, rendering, compositing, post-production, and game creation; 

• Cross platform, with OpenGL uniform GUI on all platforms, ready to use for all versions of Windows 
(98, NT, 2000, XP), Linux, OS X, FreeBSD, Irix, Sun and numerous other operating systems; 

• High quality 3D architecture enabling fast and efficient creation work-flow ; 

• More than 200,000 downloads of each release (users) worldwide; 

• User community support by fomms for questions, answers, and critique at http://BlenderArtists.org 
and news services at http://BlenderNation.com ; 

• Small executable size, easy distribution; 

You can download the latest version of Blender here. 



Blender's History 

In 1988 Ton Roosendaal co-founded the Dutch animation studio NeoGeo. NeoGeo quickly became the 
largest 3D animation studio in the Netherlands and one of the leading animation houses in Europe. NeoGeo 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 15 



Introduction Version/Revision Milestones 

created award-winning productions (European Corporate Video Awards 1993 and 1995) for large corporate 
clients such as multi-national electronics company Philips. Within NeoGeo Ton was responsible for both art 
direction and internal software development. After careful deliberation Ton decided that the current in-house 
3D tool set for NeoGeo was too old and cumbersome to maintain and upgrade and needed to be rewritten 
from scratch. In 1995 this rewrite began and was destined to become the 3D software creation suite we aU 
now know as Blender. As NeoGeo continued to refine and improve Blender it became apparent to Ton that 
Blender could be used as a tool for other artists outside of NeoGeo. 

In 1998, Ton decided to found a new company called Not a Number (NaN) as a spin-off of NeoGeo to further 
market and develop Blender. At the core of NaN was a desire to create and distribute a compact, cross 
platform 3D creation suite for free. At the time this was a revolutionary concept as most commercial modelers 
cost several thousands of (US) dollars. NaN hoped to bring professional level 3D modeling and animation 
tools within the reach of the general computing public. NaN's business model involved providing commercial 
products and services around Blender. In 1999 NaN attended its first Siggraph conference in an effort to more 
widely promote Blender. Blender's first 1999 Siggraph convention was a huge success and gathered a 
tremendous amount of interest from both the press and attendees. Blender was a hit and its huge potential 
confirmed! 

On the wings of a successful Siggraph in early 2000, NaN secured financing of a,-i4.5m from venture 
capitalists. This large inflow of cash enabled NaN to rapidly expand its operations. Soon NaN boasted as 
many as fifty employees working around the world trying to improve and promote Blender. In the summer of 
2000, Blender v2.0 was released. This version of Blender added the integration of a game engine to the 3D 
suite. By the end of 2000, the number of users registered on the NaN website surpassed 250,000. 

Unfortunately, NaN's ambitions and opportunities didn't match the company's capabilities and the market 
realities of the time. This over-extension resulted in restarting NaN with new investor funding and a smaller 
company in April 2001. Six months later NaN's first commercial software product. Blender Publisher was 
launched. This product was targeted at the emerging market of interactive web-based 3D media. Due to 
disappointing sales and the ongoing difficult economic climate, the new investors decided to shut down all 
NaN operations. The shutdown also included discontinuing the development of Blender. Although there were 
clearly shortcomings in the then current version of Blender, with a complex internal software architecture, 
unfinished features and a non-standard way of providing the GUI, with the enthusiastic support from the user 
community and customers who had purchased Blender Publisher in the past. Ton couldn't justify leaving 
Blender to disappear into oblivion. Since restarting a company with a sufficiently large team of developers 
wasn't feasible, in March 2002 Ton Roosendaal founded the non-profit organization Blender Foundation. 

The Blender Foundation's primary goal was to find a way to continue developing and promoting Blender as a 
community-based Open Source project. In July 2002, Ton managed to get the NaN investors to agree to a 
unique Blender Foundation plan to attempt to release Blender as open source. The "Free Blender" campaign 
sought to raise a, -> 100,000 so that the Foundation could buy the rights to the Blender source code and 
intellectual property rights from the NaN investors and subsequently release Blender to the open source 
community. With an enthusiastic group of volunteers, among them several ex-NaN employees, a fund raising 
campaign was launched to "Free Blender." To everyone's surprise and delight the campaign reached the 
a,-ilOO,000 goal in only seven short weeks. On Sunday October 13, 2002, Blender was released to the world 
under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) . Blender development continues to this day driven 
by a team of far-flung, dedicated volunteers from around the world led by Blender's original creator. Ton 
Roosendaal. 



Version/Revision Milestones 

Blender's history and road-map 

• 1.00 Jan 1995 Blender in development at animation studio NeoGeo 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 16 



Introduction Version/Revision Milestones 

• 1.23 Jan 1998 SGI version published on the web, IrisGL 

• 1.30 April 1998 Linux and FreeBSD version, port to OpenGL and X 

• 1.3x June 1998 NaN founded 

• 1.4x Sept 1998 Sun and Linux Alpha version released 

• 1.50 Nov 1998 First Manual published 

• 1.60 April 1999 C-key (new features behind a lock, $95), Windows version released 

• 1.6x June 1999 BeOS and PPC version released 

• 1.80 June 2000 End of C-key, Blender full freeware again 

• 2.00 Aug 2000 Interactive 3D and real-time engine 

• 2.10 Dec 2000 New engine, physics, and Python 

• 2.20 Aug 2001 Character animation system 

• 2.21 Oct 2001 Blender Publisher launch 

• 2.2x Dec 2001 Mac OSX version 

• 13 October 2002 Blender goes Open Source, 1st Blender Conference 

• 2.25 Oct 2002 Blender Publisher becomes freely available 

• Tuhopuul Oct 2002 The experimental tree of Blender is created, a coder's playground. 

• 2.26 Feb 2003 The first true Open Source Blender 

• 2.27 May 2003 The second Open Source Blender 

• 2.28x July 2003 First of the 2.28x series. 

• 2.30 October 2003 Preview release of the 2.3x UI makeover presented at the 2nd Blender Conference. 

• 2.31 December 2003 Upgrade to stable 2.3x UI project. 

• 2.32 January 2004 Major overhaul of internal rendering capabilities. 

• 2.33 April 2004 Game Engine returns , ambient occlusion, new procedural textures 

• 2.34 August 2004 Big improvements : particle interactions, LSCM UV mapping, functional YafRay 
integration, weighted creases in subdivision surfaces, ramp shaders, full OSA, and many many more. 

• 2.35 November 2004 Another version full of improvements : object hooks, curve deforms and curve 
tapers, particle duplicators and much more. 

• 2.36 December 2004 A stabilization version , much work behind the scene, normal and displacement 
mapping improvements 

• 2.37 June 2005 A big leap : transformation tools and widgets, softbodies, force fields, deflections, 
incremental subdivision surfaces, transparent shadows, and multithreaded rendering. 

• 2.40 Dec 2005 An even bigger leap : full rework of armature system, shape keys, fur with particles, 
fluids and rigid bodies. 

• 2.41 Jan 2006 Lots of fixes , and some game engine features. 

• 2.42 Jul 2006 The Node release . Over 50 developers contributed nodes, array modifier, vector blur, 
new physics engine, rendering, lipsync and, many other features. This was the release following 
Project Orange 

• 2.43 Feb 2007 The Multi release : multi-resolution meshes, multi-layer UV textures, multi-layer 
images and multi-pass rendering and baking, sculpting, retopology, multiple additional matte, distort 
and filter nodes, modeling and animation improvements, better painting with multiple brushes, fluid 
particles, proxy objects, sequencer rewrite, and post-production UV texturing, whew! Oh, and a 
website rewrite. And yes, it still has multi-threaded rendering for multi-core CPUs. With Verse it is 
multi-user, allowing multiple artists to work on the same scene collaboratively. Lastly, render farms 
still provide multi-workstation distributed rendering. 

• 2.44 May 2007 The SSS release : the big news, in addition to two new modifiers and re-awakening 
the 64-bit OS support, was the addition of subsurface scattering, which simulates light scattering 
beneath the surface of organic and soft objects. 

• 2.45 Sept 2007 Another bugfix release : serious bugfixes, with some performance issues addressed. 

• 2.46 May 2008 The Peach release was the result of a huge effort of over 70 developers providing 
enhancements to the core and patches to provide hair and fur, a new particle system, enhanced image 
browsing, cloth, a seamless and non-intrusive physics cache, rendering improvements in reflections, 
AO, and render baking; a mesh deform modifier for muscles and such, better animation support via 
armature tools and drawing, skinning, constraints and a colorful Action Editor, and much more. It was 
the the release following Project Peach 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 17 



Introduction About Free Software and the GPL 

• 2.48 Aug 2008 Bugfix release 

• 2.48 Oct 2008 The Apricot release : cool GLSL shaders, lights and GE improvements, snap, sky 
simulator, shrinkwrap modifier, python editing improvements 



About Free Software and the GPL 

When one hears about "free software", the first thing that comes to mind might be "no cost". While this is true 
in most cases, the term "free software" as used by the Free Software Foundation (originators of the GNU 
Project and creators of the GNU General Public License) is intended to mean "free as in freedom" rather than 
the "no cost" sense (which is usually referred to as "free as in free beer"). Free software in this sense is 
software which you are free to use, copy, modify, redistribute, with no limit. Contrast this with the licensing 
of most commercial software packages, where you are allowed to load the software on a single computer, are 
allowed to make no copies, and never see the source code. Free software allows incredible freedom to the end 
user; in addition, since the source code is available universally, there are many more chances for bugs to be 
caught and fixed. 

When a program is licensed under the GNU General Public License (the GPL): 

• you have the right to use the program for any purpose; 

• you have the right to modify the program, and have access to the source codes; 

• you have the right to copy and distribute the program; 

• you have the right to improve the program, and release your own versions. 

In return for these rights, you have some responsibilities if you distribute a GPL'd program, responsibilities 
that are designed to protect your freedoms and the freedoms of others: 

• You must provide a copy of the GPL with the program, so that the recipient is aware of his rights 
under the license. 

• You must include the source code or make the source code freely available. 

• If you modify the code and distribute the modified version, you must license your modifications under 
the GPL and make the source code of your changes available. (You may not use GPL'd code as part 
of a proprietary program.) 

• You may not restrict the licensing of the program beyond the terms of the GPL. (You may not turn a 
GPL'd program into a proprietary product.) 

For more on the GPL, check the GNU Project Web site . For reference, a copy of the GNU General Public 
License is included in Volume II. 



Getting support - the Blender community 

Being freely available from the start, even while closed source, helped a lot in Blender's adoption. A large, 
stable and active community of users has gathered around Blender since 1998. 

The community showed its best in the crucial moment of freeing Blender itself, going Open Source under 
GNU GPL in late summer 2002. 

The community itself is now subdivided into two, widely overlapping sites: 

1. The Development Community, centered around the Blender Foundation site . Here you will find the 
home of the development projects, the Functionality and Documentation Boards, the CVS repository 
with Blender sources, all documentation sources, and related pubhc discussion forums. Developers 
coding on Blender itself. Python scripters, documentation writers, and anyone working for Blender 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 18 



Introduction Who uses Blender? 

development in general can be found here. 
2. The User Community, centered around the independent site BlenderArtists . Here Blender artists, 
Blender gamemakers and Blender fans gather to show their creations, get feedback on them, and ask 
for help to get a better insight into Blender's functionality. Blender Tutorials and the Knowledge Base 
can be found here as well. 

These two websites are not the only Blender resources. The Worldwide community has created a lot of 
independent sites, in local languages or devoted to specialized topics. A constantly updated listing of Blender 
resources can be found at the above mentioned sites. 

For immediate online feedback there are three IRC chat channels permanently open on irc.freenode.net. You 
can join these with your favorite IRC client. 

The IRC channels are #blenderchat for general discussion of blender: #blenderqa for asking questions on 
Blender usage; and #gameblender for discussion on issues related to game creation with Blenders included 
game engine. For developers there is also #blendercoders for developers to ask questions and discuss 
development issues, as well as a meeting each Sunday at ?: #blenderpython for discussion of the python API 
and script development: #blenderwiki for questions related to editing the wiki 



Who uses Blender? 

New releases of Blender are downloaded by more than a million people around the world just in the first 10 
days of release. This figure spans all platforms (Windows, Linux, and MacOS) and does not include 
redistribution, which is fully authorized and unrestricted. We estimate there are in excess of two million users. 
This manual is written to serve the wide array of talented people that use Blender: 

• Hobbyist/Student that just wants to explore the world of computer graphics (CG) and 3D animation 

• 2-D artist that produces single image art/posters or enhances single images as an image 
post-processing lab 

• 2-D artist or team that produces cartoon/caricature animations for television commercials or shorts 
(such as a€oeThe Magic of Ameliaa€) 

• 3-D artist that works alone or with another person to produce short CG animations, possibly featuring 
some live action (such as "Suburban Plight"). 

• 3-D team that produces an animated (100% CG) movie (such as "Elephant's Dream", "Plumiferos"). 

• 3-D team that works together to produce live action movies that include some CG. 

A wide range of age groups, from teenagers to oldsters use Blender, and the user community is fairly evenly 
divided between novice and professional graphic artists; those occasional users as well as commercial houses. 
We can divide the 2-D and 3-D teams that produce movies and animations further into individual job 
categories. Those that use Blender include: 

• Director - Defines what each Scene should contain, and the action (animation) that needs to occur 
within that scene. Defines shots (camera takes) within that scene. 

• Modeler - Makes a virtual reality. Specialties include Character, Prop and Landscapes/Stage 
modelers 

• Cameraman, Director of Photography (DP): sets up the camera and its motion, shoots the live action, 
renders the output frames. 

• Material Painter - paints the set, the actors, and anything that moves. If it doesn't move, they paint it 
anyway. 

• Animation and Rigging - makes things hop about using armatures 

• Lighting and Color Specialist - Lights the stage and sets, adjusts colors to look good in the light, adds 
dust and dirt to materials, scenes, and textures. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 19 



About this Manual About this IVIanual 

• Special Purpose talent - Fluids, Motion Capture, Cloth, dust, dirt, fire, explosions, you know, the fun 
stuff 

• Editor - takes all the raw footage from the DP and sequences it into an enjoyable movie. Cuts out 
unnecessary stuff. 



Audience 

Therefore, this manual is written for a very broad audience, to answer the question "I want to do something; 
how do I do it using Blender?" all the way to "what is the latest change in the way to sculpt a mesh?" 

This manual is a worldwide collaborative effort using time donated to the cause celeb. While there may be 
some lag between key features being implemented and their documentation, we do strive to keep it as 
up-to-date as possible. We try to keep it narrowly focused on what you, the end user, need to know, and not 
digress too far off topic, as in discussing the meaning of life. 

There are other Blender wiki books that delve deeper into other topic and present Blender from different 
viewpoints, such as the Tutorials, the Reference Manual, the software itself, and its scripting language. So, if a 
question is not answered for you in this User Manual, please search the other Blender wiki books . Okay, if 
you must know, the meaning of life is to create, and Blender is excellent at helping you create beautiful 
imagery. 



About this Manual 

This manual is a mediawiki implementation that is written by a world-wide collaboration of volunteer 
authors . It is updated daily, and this is the English version. Other language versions are translated, generally, 
from this English source for the convenience of our world-wide audience. It is constantly out of date, thanks 
to the tireless work of some 50 or more volunteer developers, working from around the world on this code 
base. However, it is the constructive goal to provide you with the best possible professional documentation on 
this incredible package. 

To assist you in the best and most efficient way possible, this manual is organized according to the creative 
process generally followed by 3D artists, with appropriate stops along the way to let you know how to 
navigate your way in this strange territory with a new and deceptively complex software package. If you read 
the manual linearly, you will follow the path most artists use in both learning Blender and developing fully 
animated productions: 

1. Getting to know Blender = Intro, Navigating in 3d, scene mgt 

2. Models = Modelling, Modifiers 

3. Lighting 

4. Shading = Materials, Textures, Painting, Worlds & Backgrounds 

5. Animation = Basics, Characters, Advanced, Effects & Physical Sim 

6. Rendering = Rendering, Compositing, Video Seq Edit 

7. Beyond Blender = Extending Blender 



Learning CG and Blender 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 20 



About this Manual 



About this IVIanual 



Blender Knowledge Space 







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Getting to know Blender and learning Computer Graphics (CG) are two different topics. On the one hand, 
learning what a computer model is, and then learning how to develop one in Blender are two different things 
to learn. Learning good lighting techniques, and then learning about the different kinds of lamps in Blender 
are two different topics. The first, or conceptual understanding, is learned by taking secondary and college 
courses in art and media, by reading books available from the library or bookstore on art and computer 
graphics, and by trial and error. Even though a book or article may use a different package (like Max or Maya) 
as its tool, it may still be valuable because it conveys the concept. 

Once you have the conceptual knowledge, you can easily learn Blender (or any other CG package). Learning 
both at the same time is difficult, since you are dealing with two issues. The reason for writing this is to make 
you aware of this dilemma, and how this manual attempts to address both topics in one wiki book. The 
conceptual knowledge is usually addressed in a short paragraph or two at the beginning of a topic or chapter, 
that explains the topic and provides a workflow, or process, for accomplishing the task. The rest of the manual 
section addresses the specific capabilities and features of Blender. The user manual cannot give you the full 
conceptual knowledge - that comes from reading books, magazines, tutorials and sometimes a life-time of 
effort. You can use Blender to produce a full-length feature film, but reading this manual and using Blender 
won't make you another Steven Spielberg! 

At a very high level, using Blender can be thought of as knowing how to accomplish imagery within three 
dimensions of activity: 

1. Integration - rendering computer graphics, working with real-world video, or mixing the two (CGI 
and VFX) 

2. Animation - posing and making things change shape, either manually or using simulation 

3. Duration - producing a still image, a short video, a minute-long commercial, a ten minute indie short, 
or a full-length feature film. 

Skills, like navigating in 3D space, modeling, lighting, shading, compositing, and so forth are needed to be 
productive in any given area within the space. Proficiency in a skill makes you productive. Tools within 
Blender have applicability within the space as well. For example, the VSE has very little to do with the skill 
of animation, but is deeply applicable along the Duration and Integration scales. From a skills-learning 
integration perspective, it is interesting to note that the animation curve, called an Ipo curve, is used in the 
VSE to animate effects strips. 

At the corners/intersections is where most people's interest's lie at any given time; a sort of destination, if you 
will. For example, there are many talented artists that produce Static-Still-CG images. Tony Mullen's book 
Introducing Character Animation With Blender addresses using CG models deformed by Armatures and 
shapes to produce a one-minute animation. Using Blender fluids in a TV production/commercial is at the 
Shape/Sim-Integrated-Minute intersection. Elephants Dream and Big Buck Bunny is a bubble at the 
Armature-CG-Indie space. Therefore, depending on what you want to do, various tools and topics within 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



21 



About this Manual About this IVIanual 

Blender will be of more or less interest to you. 

A fourth dimension is Game Design, because it takes all of this knowledge and wraps Gaming around it as 
well. A game not only has a one-minute cinematic in it, but it also has actual game play, story line 
programming, etc. — which may explain why it is so hard to make a game; you have to understand all this 
stuff before you actually can construct a game. Therefore, this Manual does not address using the Game 
Engine; that is a whole 'nother wiki book. 



Previous: Manual Contents Next: Manual/Installing Blender 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 22 



About this Manual Installing the Binaries 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



Installing the Binaries 

Blender is available both as a binary executable and as source code on the Foundation site 
( http://www.blender.org/") . At the main page click on the 'Downloads' section. 

For the online manual hosted at the wiki, you can generally use the most recent version of Blender located at 
the Blender Foundation website (although all of the features from the newest release version may not be fully 
updated). If you are using a published version of this manual it is recommended that you use the Blender 
version included on the Guide CD-ROM. In the following text, whenever "download" is mentioned, those 
using the book should instead retrieve Blender from the CD-ROM. 



Downloading and Installing the binary distribution 

The binary distributions are provided for 6 primary operating system families (please click your OS for more 
installation info): 

• Windows 

• Linux 

• MacOSX 

• FreeBSD 

• Irix 

• Solaris 

Some unofficial distributions may exist for other operating systems. It's not supported by the Blender 
Foundation , you should report directly to their maintainers: 

• MorphOS 



Binaries for the Linux operating systems are provided for two different hardware architectures x86 (Intel and 
AMD processors) and PowerPC, and the choice between statically linked or dynamically loaded libraries. 

The difference between the dynamic and the static binaries is important. The static binaries have the OpenGL 
libraries compiled in. This makes Blender mn on your system without using hardware accelerated graphics. 
Use the static version if the dynamic version fails! OpenGL is used in Blender for all drawing, including 
menus and buttons. For this, you will need OpenGL installed on your system. This dependency makes a 
proper and compliant OpenGL installation at your system a requirement. Generally speaking integrated 
graphics chips and older low end graphics cards will perform poorly or not at all with Blender due to their 
poor support for OpenGL . (It is ofter possible to work around the poor OpenGL support of such cards by 
using software based OpenGL solutions such as by turning down or off hardware acceleration on Windows, or 
using software MESA 3D on Linux). 

Rendering is done by the Blender rendering engine in core memory and by the main CPU of your machine, so 
an unsupported graphics card will not have an impact if you use the machine only for rendering (as would be 
the case for a rendering farm). 

The installer will create files and several folders in two locations on your computer: one set of folders is for 
Blender itself, and the other is a user set of folders for your user data. You must have administrator 
authorization to create these. The folders are: 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 23 



About this Manual Python, the Scripting Language 

• .blender - configuration information (mostly prompts in your native language) 

• blendcaclie_.B - temporary space for physics simulation information (softbodies, cloth, fluids) 

• plugins - added functionality for textures and sequencing 

• scripts - python scripts that extend Blender functionality 

• tmp - temporary output, intermediate renders 



Python, the Scripting Language 

Python is a general purpose scripting language and there is a special interface to access all of Blender's 
internal functions from that language. Scripts are written in this language that extend the functionality of 
Blender, without having to re-compile and link the binary distribution. These scripts are written by 
user-programmers. The recommended version o f Python is normally included and installed with the 
distribution, however you may also download and install it directly from the official Python website , and 
install it separately. Most functions do not rely on Python : a notable exception is the Help menu which opens 
a web browser pointed to a specific location. Help text is not bundled into Blender; you must download the 
latest wiki or pdf user manuals, found here or at www.blender.org . 

In general, wherever you install Python, you need to establish an operating system environment variable 
PYTHONPATH and point it to the Blender Scripts directory where python modules are installed, e.g. 
"C:\Program FilesVBlender Foundation\Blender\scripts\bpymodules" for Windows machines. Environment 
Variables on Windows machines are set in the advanced Systems settings in the Control Panel. 

When Blender starts on a machine with Blender properly installed, you will see this message in the console 
window: 

Compiled with Python version 2.5. 
Checking for installed Python... got it! 

The above messages means that you have installed Python and have the full development and execution 
environment, and will be able to access, execute and run all Python scripts that are bundled or available for 
Blender. If you see a different message, such as: 

Could not find platform independent libraries <prefix> 

Could not find platform dependent libraries <exec_pref ix> 

Consider setting $PYTHONHOME to <pref ix> [ : <exec_pref ix>] 

'import site' failed; use -v for traceback 

Checking for installed Python... No installed Python found. 

Only built-in modules are available. Some scripts may not run. 

Continuing happily. 

it just means that the full Python is not available. If you want full Python functionality, refer to the Python site 
for installation instructions. 

When you install Blender, you must tell the Python module where you put the scripts, if you choose to put 
user data in a different location for each user, then the install will put your scripts in the 

'C:\Users\<Current User>\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\ . blender \ scripts ' 

folder. If you are upgrading, you probably want to overwrite all your old scripts with the new versions, and 
not have several versions of the same script hanging around on your PC. The best place, if you will not be 
editing them, is to put them in your Program Files folder with Blender: 

1. Do a search on your machine for a file name with the words 'Scripts'. 

2. you will see the scripts folder appear after the initial search.. ..C:\Program 
Files\Blender-2.46/.blender/scripts or something similar.... 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 24 



About this Manual 



Windows 



3. open the script folder from the search window, you will see all the scripts. You can leave em there or 
put them on your desktop temporarily.... 

4. Then go to program files, then to blender foundation, then blender folder, then make a new folder 
called scripts in the blender folder.... 

5. Drag and drop or copy all the scripts from where ever you put them into this folder. 

6. Make sure to include the 2 module folders in the script file. 

7. Then, if you don't know this already. Open Blender 

8. In Blender, the top menu bar hides all the preferences. Drag it down and then you will see a button 
marked file paths. 

9. Once you click that File Paths button a set of path fields will be revealed. 

10. Go to the script one and drill down to the script folder you just created in blender where you put all 
the scripts. 

1 1 . Then hit the button that says 'Select Script Paths'. 

12. Then go to the file menu and save as default setting so Blender will remember that the script folder is 
where you told it to look Ctrl U 

1 3. Be careful though if you have already done stuff in blender at this point every time you start it it will 
be the default start up. 



Windows 



Quick Install 

Download the file blender-2 . ##-windows . exe, (2 . ## being the version number) from the downloads 
section of the Blender Website . Start the installation by double-clicking the file. This presents you with some 
questions, for which the defaults should be OK. After setup is complete, you can start Blender right away, or 
use the entry in the Start menu. 



In-depth Instructions 



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Download the file blender-2 . ##-windows . exe from the 'Downloads' section of the Blender Website . 
Choose to download it (if prompted), select a location and click "Save". Then navigate to the location you 
saved the file in and double-click it to start the installation. The first dialog presents you with a helpful 
reminder: You must be logged on to your PC as ADMINISTRATOR! You will be denied access if you do not 
have the rights (Vista user especially) to the C:/Program Files folder and/or are authorized to install 
executable software on the PC. I have Vista install as Administrator (in the file explorer, right-click on the 
downloaded 'blender-2.46-windows.exe' and select 'Run as administrator' from the right-click menu). 

The second dialog presents you with the license. You are expected to accept it if you want the installation to 
go any further. After accepting the license, select the components you wish to install (there is just one. 
Blender) and the additional actions: 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



25 



About this Manual 



Windows 



• Add a shortcut to the Start menu, 

• Add Blender's icon to desktop, 

• associate .blend files with Blender. 



By default they are all checked. If you don't want some action to be taken, simply uncheck it. When done, 
click on Next. The next dialog is where to put the executable files, usually in the C:\Program Files folder. 



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The next dialog is tricky, and it is where to put user files. These folders save user data, namely temp data like 
test renders and physics data. Each user of that PC can have their own, or they call all share one. 

Select a place to install the files to (the default should be OK), and click Next to install Blender. Press Close 
when installation is over. 

Afterwards you will be asked whether you want to start Blender immediately. Blender is now installed and 
can be started by means of the Start menu (an entry named "Blender Foundation" will have been created by 
the setup routine) or by double-clicking a Blender file (* . blend). 

After the files are unpacked. Blender will check for required system components, like DLLs, which you must 
get from Microsoft or your hardware vendor. Most common is a VCRT dll that is/was not bundled with old 
versions of Windows. After confirmation, you will be able to run Blender! 



Portable Install 

If, like many people, you are a) obsessed with Blender, and b) have a USB drive, you'll be glad to know that 
Blender runs beautifully off a USB key. Just download the .zip version and extract it. You may want to avoid 
having it store the animation output or other temporary files on the drive, as it may shorten the life, but 
otherwise. Blender runs fine. 



osx 



Install 

Download the file blender-2 . ##-OSX-10 . 3-py2 . #- [platform] . zip from the downloads section 
of the Blender Website. 



• 2.## is the Blender version, 

• 10.3 is the minimum OSX version, 

• py2.# is the python version, which should be 2.3 for most users, and 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 



26 



About this Manual Linux 

• [platform] is either powerpc or i386 (Intel), depending on which type of processor your Mac has. 

Python 2.3 is included with the installation. If you wish to use the latest version of Python, please refer to the 
Python section on this page. 

Extract the download by double-clicking the file. This will open a directory with several files. 

Mac Users: Since Blender uses OpenGL to render the user interface and Mac OSX draws the entire Desktop 
with OpenGL as well, you will need to verify that you have sufficient VRAM in your system. Blender will not 
run with less than 8MB of VRAM. With up to 16 MB VRAM, you will need to set your display to "1000s of 
colors" (System Preferences -> Displays). 

You now can use Blender by double clicking the Blender icon, or drag the Blender icon to the Dock to add its 
icon there. Blender starts by default in a small window. Hints and tips about the OSX version can be found in 
the file OSX tips . rtf in the installation directory. If Blender doesn't launch, make sure that you 
downloaded the correct version; oftentimes, newcomers to Blender will accidentally download the Python 2.5 
version by accident; try the Python 2.3 version if Blender doesn't seem to launch. 



Linux 



Quick Install 

Download the file blender-2 . ##-linux-glibc# . # . #-ARCH . tar . gz from the 'Downloads' section 
of the Blender Website . Here 2 . ## is the Blender version (currently 2.45), # . # . # is the glibc version 
installed on your computer and ARCH is the machine architecture — either 13 8 6 or powerpc. Pick the one 
matching your system, keeping in mind the difference between static and dynamic builds. 

Unpack the archive to a location of your choice. This will create a directory named 

blender-2 . ##-llnux-gllbc# . # . #-ARCH, in which you will find the blender binary. 

To start Blender, open a shell and execute . /blender, of course while running X. 



In-depth Instructions 

Download the file blender-2 . ##-llnux-gllbc# . # . #-ARCH . tar . gz from the 'Downloads' section 
of the Blender Website . Choose to download it (if prompted), select a location, and click "Save". Then 
navigate to the location you wish Blender to install to (e.g. /usr/local/) and unpack the archive (with 

tar -xzf /path/to/blende r-2. ##-11 nux-glibc#.#. #-ARCH . tar . gz). If you like, you can 
rename the resulting directory from blender-2 . ##-llnux-gllbc# . # . #-ARCH to something shorter, 
e.g. just blender. 

Blender is now installed and can be started on the command line by entering /path/to/blender followed 
by pressing the enter key in a shell. If you are using KDE or Gnome you can start Blender using your file 
manager of choice by navigating to the blender executable and double-clicking on it. 

If you are using the Sawfish window manager, you might want to add a line like ( "Blender" (system 

"blender &")) to your . sawfish/rc file. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 27 



About this Manual Linux 

To add program icons for Blender in KDE 

1. Select the Menu Editor from the System sub-menu of the K menu. 

2. Select the sub-menu labeled Graphics in the menu list. 

3. Click the New Item button. A dialog box will appear that prompts you to create a name. Create and 
type in a suitable name and click OK. 

4. You will be returned to the menu list, and the Graphics sub-menu will expand, with your new entry 
highlighted. In the right section, make sure the following fields are filled in: Name, Comment, 
Command, Type and Work Path. 

♦ The Name field should already be filled in, but you can change it here at any time. 

♦ Fill the Comment field. This is where you define the tag that appears when you roll over the 
icon. 

♦ Click the folder icon at the end of the Command field to browse to the Blender program icon. 
Select the program icon and click OK to return to the Menu Editor. 

♦ The type should be Application. 

♦ The work path should be the same as the Command, with the program name left off. For 
example, if the command field reads 

/home/user/blender-# . ##-linux-glibc# . # . #-ARCH/blender, the Work 
Path would be /home/user/blender-# . ##-linux-glibc# . # . #-ARCH/. 

5. Click Apply and close the Menu Editor. 

To add a link to Blender on the KPanel, RMB 3 click on a blank spot on the KPanel, then hover over Add. 
Click Button, then Graphics, and select Blender (or whatever you named the menu item in step 3). 
Alternately, click on the Configure Panel sub-menu in the K menu, click Add, Button, Graphics, and then 
Blender. 

To add a Desktop icon for Blender, open Konquerer (found on the Panel by default, or in the System 
sub-menu of the K menu) and navigate to the Blender program icon where you first unzipped it. Click and 
hold the program icon, and drag it from Konquerer to a blank spot on your Desktop. You will be prompted to 
Copy Here, Move Here or Link Here; choose Link Here. 



To add program icons for Blender in GNOME 

• RMB 'J click the Gnome Main Menu panel (depending on the chosen theme the Icon for the Gnome 
Main Menu panel could be displayed differently) 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 28 



About this Manual 



Linux 




Location of Gnome Main Menu panel 



and select Edit Menus from the menu of options that appear, 



TiHEiCi:, ':h:iipm 




29/01/2009 13.49.52 



29 



About this Manual 



Linux 



Right clicked panel menu options 



or LMB B click on the Gnome Main Menu panel and navigate to System > Preferences > Look and Feel > 
Main Menu (Your menu layout may be different, if so the next option may help). 



^^pgaa 



l}l))|lP§ TWPrtll. 




Location of Main Menu editor 



Yet another method for accessing the Gnome Main Menu editor is to open a Terminal/Console/xterm 
window 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



30 



About this Manual 



Linux 



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Location of Gnome Terminal 

and type the following: 

•alacarte <PRESS THE ENTER KEY> 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



31 



About this Manual 



Linux 



4'^)H'i nHF»b 



11. i-.IT.U PH 




An open Gnome Terminal window 

• After using one of the above methods (hopefully) the Main Menu editor is displayed. 



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29/01/2009 13.49.52 



32 



About this Manual 



Linux 



The Main Menu editor windows (alacarte) 







Select the Graphics sub-menu from the Main Menu dialog box (or which ever section you want the 
Blender icon to be contained in), 



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then click the New Item button. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



33 



About this Manual 



Linux 



4'W*I 



TIN F>b 11. i:i':ii} PM 




The Main Menu editor windows (alacarte), with the right hand New Item clicked 



• In the Create Launcher dialog box, make sure the Type: drop down menu has Application selected. 




29/01/2009 13.49.52 



34 



About this Manual 



Linux 



The Create Launcher dialog box (alacarte) 



o 



In the Create Launcher dialog box also fill in the Name:, Comment: and Command: fields. Fill the 
Name: field with the program name, for example Blender. You can name this whatever you'd like, 
this is what appears in the menu, but does not affect the functionality of the program. Fill the 
Comment: field with a descriptive comment. This is what is shown on the tooltips popups. Fill the 
Command: field with the full path of the blender program executable/binary, for example, 
/home/user/blender-# . ##-linux-glibc# . # . #-ARCH/blender 
Click the icon button to choose an icon (the icon button by default is to the top left within the Create 
Launcher dialog box and looks like a platform attached to a spring (depending on the chosen theme) 
or if no icon is selected by the theme the words No Icon may be displayed. 



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The Icon selection/display box (alacarte) 



When the mouse is positioned over the icon button it will highlight). There may or may not be an icon for 
Blender in your default location. You can make one, or look for the icon that goes with KDE. This should be 
in directory /opt/kde/share/icons/hicolor/4 8x4 8/apps/blender .png (assuming you 
installed KDE). If your installation directory is different, you can search for it using this command in a 
Terminal or Console: 



•find / -name "blender .png" -print <PRESS THE ENTER KEY> 

• If you cannot find your Blender icon then you can use this 2.45 Blender icon for the Gnome Blender 



icon 




, just click on the picture and save it to your computer. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



35 



About this Manual 



Linux 



Once you have found the icon you wish to use for Blender, select it in the Browse Icons dialog box 
and select the Ok button to confirm it. 



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• Then click the Ok button in the Create Launcher Dialog box to create the new menu and icon item in 
the Main Menu editor dialog. Make sure the Show item is selected to the left of the newly created 
Blender entry. 

• Click the Close button to close the Main Menu editor. 

• Now you should have access to Blender from the Gnome Menu as well as an icon assigned. 

• To add a Panel icon for Blender, LMB ^- click on the Gnome Main Menu panel and navigate to the 
Blender menu entry location in the menu, then RMB 'J click the Blender menu entry and select Add 
this launcher to panel. Once that is done the Blender icon should appear on the panel. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



36 



About this Manual 



FreeBSD 



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• To add a Desktop icon for Blender, it is almost the same as adding a Panel icon for Blender but 
instead of Selecting Add this launcher to panel you instead select Add this launcher to desktop. 



FreeBSD 



Install 

Download the file blender-2 . ##-f reebsd-# . #-138 6 . tar . gz from the downloads section of the 
Blender Website . Here 2 . ## is the Blender version currently 2.45, # . # is FreeBSD version and i 3 8 6 is the 
machine architecture. 

To start blender just open a shell and execute . /blender, of course while running X. 



Irix 



Install 

Download the file blender-2 . ##-lrlx-6 . 5-mlps . tar . gz from the 'Downloads' section of the 
Blender Website . Here 2 . ## is the Blender version (currently 2.45), Python version 2.4, 6 . 5 is the Irix 
version and mips is the machine architecture. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



37 



About this Manual Solaris 

To start Blender just open a shell and execute . /blender, of course while running X. Blender was 
originally developed for the IRIX platform, but is currently not actively being maintained for all IRIX 
workstation versions. For some workstations performance troubles have been reported. 

Solaris 



Install 

Download the file blender-2 . ##-solaris-2 . 8-sparc . tar . gz from the 'Downloads' section of the 
Blender Website . Here 2 . ## is the Blender version (currently 2.45), Python version 2.5, 2 . 8 is the Solaris 
version and spare is the machine architecture. 

Currently no further instructions for Sun Solaris are available. Please use the Blender Website forums for 
support. 



MorphOS 



Install 

Download the unofficial file blender_2 . ##-mos_bin-yyyymmdd. Iha from 

http://www.yomgui.fr/blender/ . Here is 2 . ## the Blender version (currently 2.45) and yyyymmdd the date 
stamp. Sources are available on the same link. 

Currently no further instructions for MorphOS are available. Please use the Blender Website or MorphOS 
forums for support. 



Configure your Blender 



The generic installation of Blender has tons of features and looks pretty cool, too. When you install an 
upgrade, there are a few things you want to do: 

• 'Point' Blender to resources on your machine 

• Copy and regression test custom python scripts 

• Tell Blender where sequence and texturing plugins are 

• Customize your animation, modelling, material, sequence and scripting desktops 

• Define your default animation output directory 

The top window contains all the User Preferences - click here for more info , including a File Paths tab that 
you should set up. Then, go into your \Blender\Scripts\ folder and copy the non-distributed scripts into your 
.blender\scripts directory. Your texture and sequence plugin pathspecs are under User Preferences, and I keep 
mine in \Blender\bin folders of their own. Your different desktops are selected from the left drop-down menu 
at the top of the screen. You can size and reconfigure each of these to suit your particular preference (for 
newbies, the defaults are just fine). If you click the Render button, to top Output directory is where your 
animations are put (by default), and you might want to point that to your temp directory. Finally, save all your 
changes with Ctrl U. 



9 



Info: 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 38 



About this Manual Setting up a user directory structure 

The key combination Ctrl U saves all the settings of the currently open Blender file into the default 
Blender file (which is usually called .B .blend). The settings in the default Blender file are read when 
Blender is first started or when Ctrl X is pressed to start a New file. If you accidentally change the 
settings in your default Blender file there are a few ways of getting back factory default settings: 

• Goto the File menu and select Load Factory Settings, once that is done press key combination 
Ctrl U to save the newly loaded factory settings to the Blender default file. If you have an older 
version of Blender this method may not be available in that case try the second method. 

• Delete the .B. blend file (location can vary between operating systems, check your system) and 
when Blender is restarted it will recreate it using inbuilt default settings. 



Setting up a user directory structure 

If you are new to setting up Blender on your PC, you may want to stay organized, as you will quickly 
accumulate many models, textures, pictures, . blend files, . zip files, scripts , etc. Mushing them all 
together in one directory leads to confusion, so it is recommended that you spend a few moments creating a 
few folders to keep stuff organized. The following is a recommendation based on a few years' experience. 
There are also free tools to help you manage larger projects (i.e. CVS/Subversion and Verse ) but those are 
beyond the scope of this document. 

For casual users, a suggested structure to create on your workstation's hard drive is: 

• C:\Blender - a shared folder containing the following subfolders: 

♦ \bin\ - downloaded binaries (installation exe's) and utilities and add-ons such as Yafray . 
Python . Gocubic. Panocube . Virtual Dub , etc. 

♦ \examples\ - work done by others (pictures, movies) for offline study 

♦ \lib\ - a library of reference material (more on this later) 

♦ \man\ - User manuals , pdf guides such as Blender Basics, videos from experts, quick 
reference cards and 'how-to' notes you've made 

♦ \play\ - your own playground; a directory to save .blend files you're just playing around with 

♦ \script\ - python scripts that are not distributed with Blender 

♦ \tmp\ - a temporary place for temporary output; a swap space 

♦ \tut\ - "how to" tutorials collected from the web. There are many videos and web pages out 
there (save as a complete web page). 

♦ \util\ - Blender utilities, such as Make Human . World Forge , and Tree Generator . 

♦ \work\ - And last but not least, if you actually latch onto a meaningful project that maybe 
evolves out of the playground, put it here. 



Folder explanations 

The main Folder is /Blender/, which I keep on XP under /Shared Downloads/. Create a subfolder 
/Blender /bin/ to hold the downloaded binaries or . exe install file, as well as any other executable 
programs associated with Blender, such as Manual/ YafRay . and some nifty DLL's you will mn across for 
extending Blender functionality. 

• Library : I know you want to create the world, but there are already a bunch of models and stuff out 
there on the www that other creative people have created. To hold this wealth of pre-built knowledge, 
create a library (/Blender/lib/) to hold this stuff. Subdirectories under that could be /mesh (to 
hold blend files of meshes), /tex to hold texture images, and /pic to hold pictures, such as 
reference pictures. My /blender/lib/mesh folder has subfolders /animal, /human, 
/machine, and /house, to name a few, holding blend files that contain models of those types of 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 39 



About this Manual Compiling the Source 

things. The /tex folder has a similar set of folders containing jpg's and even blend files that contain 
common material settings that are used to color and paint objects. My /tex folder contains 
/nature, /buildings, /painted, and /metal subdirectories. The /pic folder contains 
reference pictures of people (Angelina Jolie), faces (my daughter), furniture, my car (a Dodge Viper), 
and other reference images and concept art that I want to use as reference when modeling. 

• Manual and User Guides : Create a /Blender /man/ file to hold user manuals and guide files in 
either html, word ( . doc) and/or . pdf formats. There are a few of these floating around. Also, use 
this folder to save local copies of these wiki pages for off-line reference. 

• Tutorials : There are lots of tutorials around and available for downloading. Create a 
/Blender/tut/ directory to hold neat tutorials that you find. Some tutorials are hosted by 
individuals and may disappear, so if you find a tutorial that helps you, download it into this directory. 

• Python scripts : Blender uses a scripting language. Python , to extend its functionality. There are 
dozens of these scripts that can be loaded by Blender. As you find them, save them in a 
/Blender/script/ directory, as well as any batch files you write for making backups, etc. 

• Utilities: Blender has evolved to the point where there are complete programs that create wondrous 
things. Keep your Make Human and World Forge utilities (for example) in /Blender/util/. 

• Just Do It!: So now YOU need some of your own space, my young padawan. Create 
/Blender /play/ and /Blender /work/ directories to hold play files, and, for when you 
actually have a meaningful project to work on, a work file. I have used Blender to create a 
commercial, a documentary on Niger, and a patent ( #6.796.205 ). so I have a subdir under 
/Blender /work for each of those projects. The /Blender/work/ folder has a folder for each 
project, and, below that, a set of /tex, /pic, /render, and /wav folders to hold textures, 
pictures, render output, and sound files, respectively. The actual blend files are kept in the 
/work/xxx/ folder, where xxx is the short name of the project. The /Blender/play/ folder is 
loosely organized into Yaf rav . anim (animation). Lighting, and other folders; basically a trash 
heap that I rummage around in when I remember that I did something like <insert current problem> 
but can't remember how to do it again. 



Compiling the Source 



There are presently four build systems for making a binary for the different operating systems supported. See 
this web page for more information about compiling a custom installation binary for your machine. This link 
is in wiki format and provides more information as well. 



Compiling the Plugins 



Plugins are dynamically loaded routines that augment functionality in either texture generation or sequencing 
(image manipution). See this thread for more information. 



Hardware Support 



Blender supports 64-bit hardware platforms running a 64-bit unix operating system, removing the 2Gig 
addressable memory limit. Work is underway to support a Windows 64-bit OS (call for developer help!) 

Blender supports multi-CPU chips, like the Intel Core-Duo and AMD X2 chips by providing a Threads: 
setting when rendering to work both cores in parallel when rendering an image. 

Blender supports a wide variety of pen-based tablets on all major operating systems, in particular OS X, 
Windows XP, and Linux OSes. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 40 



About this Manual Compiling the Source 

Tips on making Blender run faster and render swifter can be found here. 



Previous: Manual/Introduction Contents Next: Manual/Partl/Interface 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 41 



The Interface The Interface 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



The Interface 



If you are new to Blender, you should get a good grip on how to work with the user interface before you start 
modeling. The concepts behind Blender's interface are specifically designed for a graphics modeling 
application and the vast array of features are different and differently grouped from other 3D software 
packages. In particular, Windows users will need to get used to the different way that Blender handles 
controls such as button choices and mouse movements. 

This difference is one of Blender's great strengths. Once you understand how to work the Blender way, you 
will find that you can work exceedingly quickly and productively. Some features are familiar, like the top 
menu bar of "File", "Add". .."Help". However, many other features are quite unheard of in most (if not all) 
other applications. For example: 

• Blender windows cannot overlap and hide each other, one exception being a small number of 
mini-floating panels which are transparent, fold-able, small, and dock-able. 

• Blender relies heavily on keyboard shortcuts to speed up the work. 

• Blender's interface is entirely drawn in OpenGL and every window can be panned, zoomed in/out, 
and its content moved around. 

• Your screen can be organized exactly to your taste for each specialized task and this oganization can 
be named and memorized. 

These key differences (and many others) make Blender a unique, powerful, and very nimble application, once 
you take the time to understand it. 



Blender's Interface Concept 



The user interface is the vehicle for two-way interaction between the user and the program. The user 
communicates with the program via the keyboard and the mouse, and the program gives feedback via the 
windowing system. 

The interface can be broken down into several key areas: Windows, Contexts, Panels, and Buttons (controls). 
For example. The Button window contains Context buttons which show different groups of Panels and the 
Panels each show groups of Buttons. These principal areas are discussed on the following pages. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 42 



The Interface 



The Interface 



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window ^ Buttons ^ Header | Panel 

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Blender interface organisation 



Previous: Manual/Installing Blender 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Partl/Interface/Keyboard and 

Mouse 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



43 



The Interface 



Keyboard and mouse 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



Keyboard and mouse 

This chapter gives an overview of the general mouse and keyboard usage in Blender and the conventions used 
in this Manual to describe them, as well as tips on how to use non-standard devices. 



Conventions in thiis l\/lanual 

This manual uses the following conventions to describe user input: 

• The mouse buttons are called LMB Sj (left mouse button), MMB '-^ (middle mouse button) and RMB 
13 (right mouse button). 

• If your mouse has a wheel, MMB O refers to clicking the wheel as if it were a button, while MW '3 
means rolling the wheel. 

• Hotkey letters are shown in this manual like they appear on a keyboard; for example G which refers to 
the lowercase "g". When used, the modifier Shift is specified just as the other modifier keys, Ctrl 
and/or Alt ; this gives, for example, Ctrl W or Shift Alt A. 

• NumPad to NumPad 9, NumPad + and so on refer to the keys on the separate numeric keypad. 
NumLock should generally be switched on. 

• Other keys are referred to by their names, such as Esc, Tab, Fl to F12. 

• Of special note are the arrow keys, at, af and so on. 



General Usage 

Blender's interface is designed to be best used with a three-button mouse. A mouse wheel is quite useful, but 
not essential. 

Because Blender makes such extensive use of both mouse and keyboard, a golden rule has evolved among 
Blender users: Keep one hand on the mouse and the other on the keyboard. If you normally use a 
keyboard that is significantly different from the English keyboard layout, you may want to think about 
changing to the English or American layout for your work with Blender. The most frequently used keys are 
grouped so that they can be reached by the left hand in standard position (index finger on F) on the English 
keyboard layout. This assumes that you use the mouse with your right hand. 



l\/louse Button Emulation 

It is perfectly possible to use Blender with a two-button mouse or an Apple single-button Mouse. The 
missing buttons can be emulated with key/mousebutton combos. Activate this functionality in the User 
Preferences . View and Controls Context. Emulate 3 Button Mouse button. 



The following table shows the combos used: 





2-button 
Mouse 


Apple Mouse 


LMB 


LMB ^^ 


LMB ^-^ (mouse 
button) 









29/01/2009 13.49.52 



44 



The lnt« 
MMB 


jrface 
Alt LMB 


Option LMB ^^ 
(Option/Alt key + 
mouse button) 


RMB 

a 


RMB a 


Command LMB B 
(C ommand/ Apple 
key + mouse 
button) 



NumPad Emulation 



All the Mouse/Keyboard combinations mentioned in the Manual can be expressed with the combos shown in 
the table. For Example, ShiftAlt RMB ^ becomes ShiftAltCommand LMB U on a single-button mouse. 



NumPad Emulation 

The Numpad keys are used quite often in Blender and are not the same keys as the regular number keys. If 
you have a keyboard without a Numpad (e.g. on a laptop), you can tell Blender to treat the standard number 
keys as Numpad keys in the User Preferences . System & OpenGL Context. Emulate Numpad button. A 
detailed description can be found on this BsoD page . 



Previous: Manual/Partl/Interface 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Partl/InterfaceAVindow 

system 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



45 



The Window System 



The Window System 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



The Window System 



When you start Blender you may see a console (text) window open and, shortly after, the main user interface 
window will display. You may also see a splash screen announcing the Blender version, but it will disappear 
as soon as you move your mouse. 



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The default Blender scene. 

The default Blender scene shows the screen you should get after starting Blender for the first time. 

By default it is separated into three windows: 

• The main menu at the top is the header part of a User Preferences window 

• A large 3D window (3D Viewport window) 

• The Buttons Window (at the bottom) 

These windows can be further broken down into separate areas. As an introduction we will cover a few of the 
basic elements: 

• Window Type: Allows you to change what kind of window it is. For example, if you want to see the 
Outliner window you would click and select it. 

• Main Top Menu: Is the main menu associated with the " User Preferences " window type. To actually 
see the information, you need to click and drag the area between the 3D window and menu header; 
Roll the mouse between them and when it changes to a up/down arrow you can drag and see the "User 
Preferences" window. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



46 



The Window System The Window System 

• Current Screen (default is Model): By default, Blender comes with several pre-configured Screens 
for you to choose from. If you need custom ones, you can create and name them. 

• Current Scene: Having multiple scenes present allows for you to break up your work into organized 
patterns. 

• Resource Information (found in the User Preferences header): Gives you information about 
application and system resources. It tells you how much memory is being consumed based on the 
number of vertices, faces and objects in the selected scene. It is a nice visual check to see if you are 
pushing the limits of your machine. 

• 3D Transform Manipulator: Is a visual aid in transforming objects. Objects can also be transformed 
(grabbed/moved - rotated - scaled) using the keyboard shortcuts : (g/r/s); Ctrl Space will display the 
manipulator pop-up. The manipulator visibility can also be toggled by clicking the "hand" icon on the 
toolbar. The translation/rotation/scale manipulators can be displayed by clicking each of the three 
icons to the right of the hand icon. Shift LMB ^--clicking an icon will add/remove each manipulator's 
visibility. 

• 3D Cursor: Can have multiple functions. For example, it represents where new objects appear when 
they are first created; Or it can represent where the base of a rotation will take place. 

♦ Here is the 3D Cursor isolated from the rest of the scene: 




• Cube Mesh: By default, a new installation of Blender will always start with a Cube Mesh sitting in 
the center of Global 3D space. After a while, you will most likely want to change the "Default" 
settings; This is done by configuring Blender as you would want it on startup and then saving it as the 
"Default" using Ctrl U (Save DefauU Settings). 

• Light (of type Lamp): By default, a new installation of Blender will always start with a Light source 
positioned somewhere close to the center of Global 3D space. 

• Camera: By default, a new installation of Blender will always start with a Camera positioned 
somewhere close to the center of Global 3D space and facing it. 

• Currently selected object: This field shows the name of the currently selected object. 

• Editing Panel Group: The bottom window displays panels and those panels are grouped. This row of 
buttons (called Context Buttons) allows you to select which group of panels are shown. Some buttons 
will display additional buttons (called Sub-Context Buttons) to the right for selection of sub-groups 
or groups within groups. 

• Current frame: Blender is a modeling and animation application; As such, you can animate things 
based on the concept of frames. This field shows what the current frame is. 

• Viewport shading: Blender renders the 3D window using OpenGL . You can select the type of 
interactive shading (called Draw Type: in the Blender shading list) that takes place by clicking this 
button and selecting from a variety of shading styles. You can select from boxes all the way to 
complex Textured shading. It is recommended that you have a powerful graphics card if you are 
going to use the Textured style. 

• Rotation/Scaling Pivot point: Allows you to select where rotation/scaling will occur. For example, 
rotation could occur about the object's local origin or about the 3D Cursor's position, amongst many 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 47 



The Window Header 



The Window Header 



others. 

• Panels: Help group and organize related buttons and controls. Some panels are visible or invisible 
depending on what type of object is selected. 

• Layers: Make modeling and animating easier. Blender Layers are provided to help distribute your 
objects into functional regions. For example, one layer many contain a water object and another layer 
may contain trees, or one layer may contain cameras and lights. 

• 3D Window header: All windows in Blender have a header. This is the header for the 3D window. 



The Window Header 

Most windows have a header (the strip with a lighter grey background containing icon buttons). We will also 
refer to the header as the window ToolBar. If present, the header may be at the top (as with the Buttons 
Window) or the bottom (as with the 3D Window) of a window's area. 



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If you move the mouse over a window, its header changes to a lighter shade of grey. This means that it is 
"focused"; All hotkeys you press will now affect the contents of this window. 

The icon at the left end of a header, with a click of the LMB P, allows selection of one of 16 different window 
types. Most Window Headers, located immediately next to this first "Window Type" Menu button, exhibit a 
set of menus. Menus allow you to directly access many features and commands. Menus can be hidden and 
shown via the triangular button next to them. 

^ Theme colours: 

Blender allows for most of it's interface colour settings to be changed to suit the needs of the user. If you 
find that the colours you see on screen do not match those mentioned in the Manual then it could be that 
your default theme has been altered. Creating a new theme or selecting/altering a pre-existing one can 
be achieved by selecting the User Preferences window and clicking on the Themes section of the 
window. 




The User Preferences window. Theme section selected. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



48 



The Window Header The Window Header 

Menus change with Window Type and the selected object and mode. They show only actions which can be 
performed. All Menu entries show the relevant hotkey shortcut, if any. 

There are a few ways to hide a Window Header from a window: 




Screenshot showing the Header popup menu (highlighted in yellow); The result of RMB -' clicking 
the Header Window. 

You can hide a particular window's header by moving your mouse over the Window Header that you 
wish to hide; Then with the mouse cursor still over the Window Header, click RMB '-' to display a 
popup menu with the name Header; The Header popup menu has the options. Top, Bottom, No 
Header, select the No Header menu option to hide the Window Header. 




m 

Mouse cursor positioned over the window frame/border showing the UpDown arrow icon. 

Another method of hiding a particular window's header is to move your mouse over the dividing 
frame/border next to the Window Header that you wish to hide (which can be just above or just below 
the Window Header depending on it's position), when the mouse cursor is positioned correctly it will 
display as upward and downward pointing arrows; 




m 

Popup menu that results from RMB C? clicking on the dividing frame/border. With the No Header 
menu item selected. 

When the upward and downward pointing arrows are displayed RMB C! click; A popup menu will be 
displayed with the options Split Area, Join Areas, No Header, select the No Header menu option to 
hide the Window Header. 

Once a Window Header has been hidden, to redisplay it, do the following: 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 49 



Changing Window Frames Changing Window Frames 




Mouse cursor positioned over the Window frame/border of a window with it's header removed. 

Move your mouse over the dividing frame/border of the Window Header you wish to unhide (which 
can be just above or just below the Window Header (that you previously hid) depending on it's 
position), when the mouse cursor is positioned correctly it will display as upward and downward 
pointing arrows; 




m 

Popup menu that results from clicking RMB C? on the dividing frame/border. With the Add Header 
menu item selected. 

When the upward and downward pointing arrows are displayed click RMB ™; A popup menu will be 
displayed with the options Split Area, Join Areas, Add Header, select the Add Header menu option to 
add the Window Header back to the window. 

You can also show a hidden header again by clicking the window frame's border with MMB '-', and 
selecting Add Header. 





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Screenshot showing the Header popup menu (highlighted in yellow); The result of RMB '-? clicking 
the Header Window. 

The Window Header can be displayed at the Top or Bottom of the frame. To set a window header's 
position, RMB 3 chck on the Window Header and choose Top or Bottom from the Header popup 
menu. 



Changing Window Frames 



You can maximize a window to fill the whole screen with the View Maximize Window menu entry. To 
return to normal size, use the View Tile Window. A quicker way to achieve this is to use Shift Space, Ctrl or 
Ctrl to toggle between maximized and framed windows. 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 50 



Changing Window Frames Changing Window Frames 

You can change the size of a window frame by focusing the window you want to split (moving the mouse to 
its edge), clicking the vertical or horizontal border with MMB '-' or RMB 'J, and selecting Spht Area (The 
Split menu for creating new windows.). You can now set the new border's position by moving your mouse to 
the desired position, and clicking with LMB ^-; or you can cancel your action by pressing Esc. The new 
window will start as a clone of the window you split. It can then be set to a different window type, or to 
display the scene from a different point of view (in the case of the 3D Window). 




The Split menu 

You can resize windows by dragging their borders with LMB S. 

You can join two windows into one by clicking a border between two windows with MMB ^ or RMB '-? and 
choosing Join Areas. Then you'll be prompted to click on one of the two windows; the one you click will 
disappear, while the other will be expanded to cover the full area of both windows. If you press Esc before 
clicking on one of the windows, the operation will be aborted. 

W Application Frame (Top Level FrameAVindow Manager Frame/Frame 0): 

Blender allows the layout of various parts of it's interface to be altered in terms of size and position of 
it's window frames; However when using window frame actions such as minimizing and maximizing a 
window frame, all actions are constrained to the current Application Frame dimensions (also known as 
the Top Level Frame, Window Manager Frame & Frame 0), which is provided by the operating system 
and is placed around the Blender application as a whole. For example if you currently have your 
Application Frame only taking up half of your screen and want it to take up all of your screen you would 
need to click on the outer Application Frame controls for maximizing windows, rather than using one of 
the possible Blender key combinations such as Ctrl . Using Ctrl while over Frame 2 for example would 
only make Frame 2 fill the entire space of the Application Frame, not the entire screen (unless the 
Application Frame was already filling the entire screen). In the screenshot below the Application Frame 
is indicated by Frame and is light blue with the title Blender in the center of it; Be aware that the 
Applcation Frame can be different in style, colour and layout and may not be present at all, depending 
on both the operating system you are running Blender in and the settings used by Blender when it is 
executed. 

Most of the time in this Manual the Application Frame is not shown to both save space and prevent 
confusion as different operating systems can have different Application Frame layouts. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 51 



Console Window & Error Messages 



Console Window & Error Messages 



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Interface Items: 



Labels in the interface buttons, menu entries, and in general, all text shown on the screen is highlighted 
in this book like this. 



Console Window & Error Messages 

The Console Window is an operating system text window that displays messages about Blender operations, 
status, and internal errors. If Blender crashes on you, it is a good idea to check the Console Window for clues. 



Console Window running Windows 2000/Xp/Vista 

When Blender is started on a Microsoft Windows OS; The Console Window is first created as a separate 
window on the desktop; Then assuming the right conditions are met, the main Blender Application window 
should also appear. 

This screenshot shows the 2 windows on a Windows Vista OS: 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



52 



Console Window & Error Messages 



Console Window running Linux 



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The Blender Console Window and Blender Application. 

The Blender Console Window may not be visible, some reasons for this are: 

• The Blender Application window may be covering the Console Window. If this is the case just use the 
Windows task bar to click on the Blender Console Window icon, which should make the Blender 
Console Window visible. 

• The Blender Console Window may be minimized/iconifed when Blender starts. If this is the case 
again, just use the Windows task bar to click on the Blender Console Window icon, which should 
make the Blender Console Window visible. 



Console Window running Linux 



The Blender Console Window in Linux will generally only be visible on the Desktop if Blender is started 
from a Linux Terminal/Console Window, as Blender uses the Console Window it is started in to display it's 
Blender Console output. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



53 



Console Window & Error Messages 



Console Window Status & Error Messages 



Most of the different Linux distributions have Blender as one of their applications you can install from their 
packaging systems. When Blender is installed in this way an icon is usually also installed into their menu 
systems; Allowing for Blender to be started by clicking an icon rather than having to open a separate Linux 
Console/Terminal window and start Blender from there; When Blender is started using an icon rather than 
being started from a Terminal window, the Blender Console Window text will most hkely be hidden on the 
Terminal that XWindows was started from. 

This screenshot shows a Linux Terminal/Console Window from which Blender is started; Resulting in 
Blender outputting it's Console text to it: 



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Blender Console Window 



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Blender in Linux started from a Terminal 

^ Closing the Blender Console Window: 

The Blender Console Window must remain open while Blender is executing; If the Blender 
Console Window is closed then the Blender Application window will also close, and any unsaved 
Blender work will be lost! The MS DOS command windows and Blender Console Window can 
look similar, so always make sure that you are closing the correct window (or save your work 
often in Blender, Ctrl W is your friend!) 

Console Window Status & Error Messages 

The Blender Console Window can display many different types of Status & Error Messages; These can range 
in level from Trivial (informing the user what Blender is doing, but having no real impact on Blenders ability 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



54 



Console Window & Error Messages Console Window Status & Error Messages 

to function) to Critical (serious errors which will most likely prevent Blender carrying out a particular task 
and may even make Blender non-responsive/shutdown completely). The Blender Console Window messages 
can also originate from many different sources (Internally from within the Blender code, Externally from 
Python scripts which Blender executes, and from varied types o f Plugins . to mention a few). 

Here is a list of some of the Blender Console Window messages: 

• Compiled with Python version X.Y. 

Blender has support for a scripting language called Python; There are many different versions of 
Python. When Blender software is compiled (programmers term for building software), it can be 
compiled to expect a particular version of Python at or above the version reported on the Blender 
Console Window. So this message reports the minimum version of Python the current version of 
Blender will use when running. 

• Checking for installed Python... got it! 

Blender can use the Python language in 2 different ways depending on how your system is 
configured. If you have a fully fledged version of Python installed on your system, and it is a version 
that is able to be used by Blender; Blender will then use the fully fledged version of the Python 
interpreter. This allows for more features of Python scripts to be used from within Blender. 

• Checking for installed Python... No installed Python found. 

If Blender cannot find a fully fledged version of Python on your system or the version it finds is not 
able to be used; Blender will use an Internal (cut down) version of Python called PyB lender. Even 
though the Internal version of Python is less feature rich, for the most part it is able to carry out most 
of the tasks required of it by Blender. If you come across scripts which seem not to work correctly, it 
may well be that they require a full version of Python to be used successfully; It could also be that the 
script you're trying to run was written for a different version of Blender/Python. If you wish access to 
the widest range of Python functionality then there are a few ways to obtain it. One way is to go to 
http://www.Python.org website and download the version you require. The Windows version of 
Python comes with a simple to use installation program. In Linux you are likely to have Python fully 
installed already, but if not you can either compile it and install it manually (often not very easy), or if 
you're using a common Linux distribution, have your Linux packaging system install and setup 
Python for you (usually much easier). 

• malloc returns nil() 

When Blender carries out tasks that require extra memory (RAM), it calls a function called malloc 
(short for memory allocate) which tries to allocate a requested amount of memory to Blender. If 
however the amount of memory requested by Blender cannot be satisfied malloc will return nil/null/0 
to indicate that it failed to carry out a request. If this happens Blender will not be able to carry out the 
tasks required of it by the user. This will most likely result in Blender shutting down or operating very 
slowly and non-responsively. If you want to avoid running out of memory; You can either get more 
memory installed into your system or reduce the amount of detail in your Blender models; Or you can 
shut down any other programs and services which may be taking up memory that Blender can use. 



Pt'sviou S ' 

,^^rrrrr^, jj ^ Ncxt: Manual/Partl/Intcrface/Window 

Manual/Partl/Interface/Kevboard and Contents 

tvpes 
Mouse 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 55 



Window types 



Window types 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.45 



Window types 



window type: ^^^^^^ 


a 


Scripts Window 


e 


File Browser 


^ 


Image Browser 


^ 


Node Editor 


s 


Buttons Window 


□□□ 

■ 

1 


Outliner 


User Preferences 


m 


"text Editor 


V 


Audio Window 





Timeline 


ffl video Sequence Editor 


m 


UV/lmage Editor 


3^ 


NLA Editor 


^ 


Action Editor 


^ 


Ipo Curve Editor 


m 


3D View 



The window type selection menu. 

The Blender interface, the rectangular window provided by your operating system, is divided up into many 
rectangular window frames. Each window frame may contain different types of information, depending upon 
the Window type. 

Each window frame operates independently of the others, and you can have the same type of window in many 
frames. For example, you may have several 3D windows open but each looking at the scene from a different 
perspective. You can split and merge and resize window frames to suit whatever you are working on. You can 
also arrange some window frames to show with or without a header to save screen space. 

Window types are broken up by functionality: 

• Scripts window - user interface for running Python scripts that extend Blender functionality. 

• File Browser - for storage and retrieval, especially of .blend files 

• Image Browser - search your computer for images, seen as thumbnails 

• Node Editor - process/enhance images and materials 

• Buttons Window - panels that configure objects and set/select options 

• Outliner - Helps you find and organize your objects. 

• User Preferences - customize Blender to your work style and computer 

• Text Editor - keep notes and documentation about your project, and write Python scripts . 

• Audio Window - see sound files and correlate them to frames 

• Timeline - Controls for animation playback. 

• Video Sequence Editor - assemble video sequences into a filmstrip 

• UV/Image Editor - edition of the UVmaps ; edit and paint pictures 

• NLA Editor - manage non-linear animation action sAOquences. 

• Action Editor - combine individual actions into action sequences 

• Ipo Curve Editor - manage animation keys and inter/extrapolation of these. 

• 3D View - graphical view of your scene 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



56 



Window types 



Window types 



You can select the Window type by clicking the window's header leftmost button. A pop-up menu displays 
showing the available Window types, see {The Window type selection menu). 

For further details about each Window type, click on it's hyperlink above or visit the reference section III 
Windows . 

The default Blender screen layout is shown below: 




Blender default screen layout 

Three Window types are provided in Blender's default screen: 

3D View 

Provides a graphical view into the scene you are working on. You can view your scene from any 
angle with a variety of options; see Manual/Partl/Navigating in 3D Space for details. Having several 
3D Viewports on the same screen can be useful if you want to watch your changes from different 
angles at the same time. 

Buttons Window 

Contains most tools for editing objects, surfaces, textures. Lights, and much more. You will need this 
window constantly if you don't know all hotkeys by heart. You might indeed want more than one of 
these windows, each with a different set of tools. 

User Preferences (Main menu) 

This window is usually hidden, so that only the menu part is visible - see Manual/Partl/The Vital 
Functions -> User preferences and Themes for details. It's rarely used though, since it contains global 
configuration settings. However, the header is frequently used because it provides the only access to a 
full File menu and to the Add menu. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



57 



Window types 



See also 



See also 



• Reference/ButtonsAVindow 



Previous: Manual/Partl/InterfaceAVindow 
system 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Partl/Interface/Screens 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



58 



Screens Screens 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



Screens 



|SR:Z-Model 

ADD NEW 
1 -Animation 
2-IVlodel 
3-Material 
4-Sequence 
5-Scripting 




Layout dropdown 

Blender's flexibility with windows lets you create customized working environments for different tasks, such 
as modeling, animating, and scripting. It is often useful to quickly switch between different environments 
within the same file. For each Scene, you need to set the stage by modeling the props, dressing them and 
painting them through materials, etc. In the example picture in Window system , we are in the modeling stage. 

To do each of these major creative steps. Blender has a set of pre-defined screens, or window layouts, that 
show you the types of windows you need to get the job done quickly and efficiently: 

] -Animation 

Making actors and other objects move about. 
2 -Model 

Creating actors, props, and other objects. 
3-Material 

Painting and texuring surfaces. 
4-Sequence 

Editing scenes into a movie. 
5-Scripting 

Documenting your work, and writing custom scripts. 

Blender sorts these screen layouts for you automatically in alphabetical and/or numerical order. The preset 
screen's names typically start with a number. The list is available via the SCR Menu Buttons in the User 
Preferences Window header shown in (Screen and Scene selectors). To change to the next screen 
alphabetically press Ctrl ; to change to the previous screen alphabetically, press Ctrl . 



Screen selector Scene selector 



i SCR:£-Mociel X i SCE:Scene 



a 



Screen and Scene selectors 

By default, each screen layout 'remembers' the last scene it was used on. Selecting a different layout will 
switch to the layout and jump to that scene. 

All changes to windows, as described in Window system and Window types , are saved within one screen. If 
you change your windows in one screen, other screens won't be affected, but the scene you are working on 
stays the same in all screens. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 59 



Hints Hints 

Adding a new Screen 

As you scroll through the Screen list, you will see that one of the options is to Add New - namely, add a new 
window layout. Click ( \ -l ) and select ADD NEW. When you click this, a new frame layout is created based 
on your current layout. 

Give the new screen a name that starts with a number so that you can predictably scroll to it using the arrow 
keys. You can rename the layout by LMB ^- into the field and typing a new name, or clicking again to 
position the cursor in the field to edit. For example you could use the name "6-My Screen". See {Screen and 
Scene selectors). 



Deleting a Screen 



You can delete a screen by using the Delete datablock button ( I X | ) and confirm by clicking Delete current 



screen in the pop-up dialog box. See {Screen and Scene selectors). 



Rearranging a Screen 

Use the window controls to move frame borders, split and consolidate windows. When you have a layout you 
like, Ctrl U to update your User defaults. The buttons window has a special option, if you RMB 'J on its 
background, to arrange its panels horizontally across or vertically up and down. 



Hints 



Overriding Defaults 

When you save a .blend file, the screen layouts are saved in it. When you open a file, the LOAD UI button on 
the file browser header controls whether Blender should use the file's screen layouts, or stick with your 
current layouts. If LOAD UI is enabled, the file's screen layouts are used, overriding your defaults. 



Additional Layouts 



With the dramatic increases in functionality, and as you get better at using Blender, based on what you use 
Blender for, consider adding some other screen layouts (for a complete workflow): 

1-Model: 4 3D windows. Buttons window for Editing buttons 

2-Lighting: 3D windows for moving lights, UV/Image for displaying Render Result, buttons window 

for rendering and lamp properties and controls. 

3- Material: Buttons window for Material settings, 3D window for selecting objects, Outliner, 

Library script (if used) 

4-UV Layout: UV/Image Editor Window, 3D Window for seaming and unwrapping mesh 

5-Painting: UV/Image Editor for texture painting image, 3D window for painting directly on object 

in UV Face Select mode, 3 mini-3D windows down the side that have background reference pictures 

set to full strength. Buttons window 

6- Animation: Ipo Window, 3D Window for posing armature, NLA Window 

7-Node: Big Node Editor window for noodles, UV/Image window linked to Render Result 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 60 



Hints Hints 

8-Sequence: Ipo Window, VSE window in Image Preview mode, VSE in timeline mode, a Timeline 
window, and the good old Buttons window. 
9-Notes/Scripting: Outliner, Text Editor (Scripts) window 

Reuse your Layouts 

If you create a new window layout and would like to use it for future .blend files, simply save it as a User 

default by pressing Ctrl U 

Delete a layout by clicking the big fat X next to its name, and it is gone for good. 



Previous: Manual/Partl/InterfaceAVmdow ^ ,r t.^ ,^ t,t r ,o 

Contents Next: Manual/Partl/Interiace/Scenes 

types 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 61 



Scenes Scenes 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Scenes 

It is also possible to have several scenes within the same Blender file. Scenes may use one another's objects or 
be completely separate fi'om one another. You can select and create scenes with the SCE menu buttons in the 
User Preferences Window header (Screen and Scene selectors). 

Screen selector Scene selector 

1 [T |sCR:£-MQdel ~ \x\ | ^ | SCE:Scene IxM 

Screen and Scene selectors 

Adding a new Scene 

You can add a new scene by clicking ( I - b and selecting ADD NEW. When you create a new scene, you can 
choose between four options to control its contents {Add Scene menu): 

: Add scene 

Empty 

Link Objects 
Link ObData 
Full Copy 



Add Scene menu 



• Empty creates an empty scene. 

• Link Objects creates the new scene with the same contents as the currently selected scene. Changes in 
one scene will also modify the other. 

• Link ObData creates the new scene based on the currently selected scene, with links to the same 
meshes, materials, and so on. This means that you can change objects' positions and related 
properties, but modifications to the meshes, materials, and so on will also affect other scenes unless 
you manually make single-user copies. 

• Full Copy creates a fully independent scene with copies of the currently selected scene's contents. 



Deleting a Scene 

You can delete a scene by using the Delete datablock button ( I ^ b and confirm by clicking Delete current 
scene to the pop dialog box. See {Screen and Scene selectors). 



Previous: Manual/Partl/Interface/Screens Contents Next: Manual/Partl/Interface/Configuration 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 62 



Configuration 



Configuration 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



Configuration 



The Info window (|_J_J) is where you customize and control Blender. By default this window is located at the 
top and only the header is visible. 



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Info window header 



To see all of the Info window and its content you need to drag it into view. You can do this by moving the 
mouse onto the bottom edge of the Info header, or the top of the 3D window, and click the LMB — and drag 
downwards. In picture:Info Visible, the Info window has been made visible at the top. 




- 


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Info Visible 

When viewing all of the Info window you can begin to customize Blender to fit your personality or machine 
capabilities. For example, you may not like the default theme and switch to the Rounded theme. Or your 
machine may not be able to handle Vertex Arrays so you switch them off. 

For an in depth look at the Info window read the reference section on Info window . There you will find all the 
details on configuring Blender. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



63 



Configuration Configuration 



Previous: Manual/Partl/Interface/Scenes Contents Next: Manual/Partl/Interface/Contexts 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 64 



Contexts Contexts 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4 



Contexts 

The Button Window shows six main Contexts, which can be chosen via the first icon row in the header 
(Contexts and Sub- Contexts Example). Each of these might be subdivided into a variable number of 
sub-contexts, which can be chosen via the second icon row in the header {Contexts and Sub-Contexts 
Example), or cycled through by pressing the same Context button again: 

Contexts Sub-contexts 



: ^ Panels © ^ ill 1iL Q H 9^ i^ 55 v» @ 



Contexts and Sub-Contexts Example 



• 11 Logic (F4) - Switches to Logic context. 

• H Script - No shortcut. Switches to Script context. 

• ■ Shading (F5) - Switches to Shading context. 

♦ H Lamp - No shortcut. 

4 B Material - No shortcut. 

♦ H Texture - Shortcut F6. 

♦ ™ Radiosity - No shortcut. 

♦ '® World - Shortcut F8. 

• ^ Object (F7) - Switches to Object context. 

♦ " Object - No shortcut. 
4 ^ Physics - No shortcut. 

• H Editing (F9) - Switches to Editing context. 

• ^ Scene (FIO) - Switches to Scene context. 

♦ ** Rendering - No shortcut. 

♦ ^ Anim/Playback - No shortcut. 

♦ ^ Sound - No shortcut. 

Once the Contexts is selected by the user, the sub-context is usually determined by Blender on the basis of 
the active Object. For example, with the Shading context, if a Lamp Object is selected then the sub-context 
shows Lamp Buttons. If a Mesh or other renderable Object is selected, then Material Buttons is the active 
sub-context, and if a Camera is selected the active sub-context is World. 

The Buttons in each context are grouped into Panels . 

The menu of available options, shown in a window's header, may change depending on the mode of that 
window. For example, in the 3D View window, the Object menu in Object mode changes to a Mesh 
operations menu in Edit mode, and a paint menu in Vertex Paint mode. If you are reading this manual and 
some menu option is referenced that does not appear on your screen, it may be that you are not in the proper 
mode, or context, for that option to be vaUd. 



,„ T,T J- ir^ j~ ■ Contents Next: Manual/Partl/Interface/Menus 

Manual/Par tl/Interface/Coniiguration 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 65 



Menus 



Menus 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



Menus 



Edit 

Select 

Transform 

Object 

View 

Render 



Top Level 

Blender contains many menus each of which is accessible from either the window headers or directly at the 
mouse's location using HotKeys . see Toolbox . 

For example, you can access the Toolbox in the 3D window using either the mouse or the keyboard. From the 
keyboard you would use the SPACE. To access it using the mouse just hold down the LMB t] or RMB 'J 
buttons for a few seconds and the Toolbox will pop-up. {Top Level) is the top most menu of the Toolbox. 

Some menus are context sensitive in that they are only available under certain situations. For example, the 
Booleans menu is only available in Object Mode using the (W) hotkey. The same hotkey (W) in Edit Mode 
brings up the Specials menu. 

While you are using Blender be aware of what mode and types of object are selected. This helps in knowing 
what hotkeys work at what times. 



Previous: Manual/Partl/Interface/Contexts 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Partl/Interface/Panels 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



66 



Panels 



Panels 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



Panels 

Panels generally appear in the Buttons window and by default the Buttons window is at the bottom; see 
(Buttons window). The Buttons window includes the Button window header and panels. 



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Buttons window 

Each button on the Buttons header groups panels together into what is called a Context . And those Contexts 
are grouped further into Sub-Contexts. For example, all Material panels are grouped under the Shading 
context and Material sub-context. 

The panels are not fixed in position relative to the window. They can be moved around the window by LMB 
™ cUcking and dragging on the respective panel header. 




Button Window Menu. 

Panels can be aligned by RMB C? on the Buttons Window and choosing the desired layout from the Menu 
which appears (Button Window Menu.). Using MW '- scrolls the Panels in their aligned direction and CTRL 
MW and Ctrl MMB ' -' zooms the Panels in and out. Single Panels can be collapsed/expanded by LMB B 
clicking the triangle on the left side of their header. 



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Panel with Tabs Example. 

Particularly complex Panels are organized in Tabs. Clicking LMB ^- on a Tab in the Panel header changes the 
buttons shown in (Panel with Tabs Example.). Tabs can be "torn out" of a Panel to form independent panels 
by clicking LMB ^ on their header and dragging them out. In a similar way separate Panels can be turned into 
a single Panel with Tabs by dropping one Panel's header into another. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



67 



Panels Panels 

For further details about each panel see the Reference panels section. 



„. ,^ ,^T,Tr,T.T ^ Next: Manual/Partl/Interface/Buttons and 

Previous: Manual/Partl/lnteriace/JVLenus Contents ^ 

Controls 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 68 



Buttons and Controls Buttons and Controls 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Buttons and Controls 

Buttons are mostly grouped in the Button Window. But they can appear in other Windows . 



Operation Button 



RENDER 



An operation button 

These are buttons that perform an operation when they are clicked (with LMB P, as all buttons). They can be 
identified by their brownish color in the default Blender scheme (An operation button). 



Toggle Button 



msM Nor 


Csp 1 Cmir 


Ref 1 Spec 


1 Hard 1 RavMi 


Aiahs. Banni 


Tramslu 1 Disc 


Toggle bu 


ttons 





Toggle buttons come in various sizes and colors (Toggle buttons). The colors green, violet, and grey do not 
change functionality, they just help the eye to group the buttons and recognize the contents of the interface 
more quickly. Clicking this type of button does not perform any operation, but only toggles a state. 

Some buttons also have a third state that is identified by the text turning yellow (the Emit button in Toggle 
buttons). Usually the third state means "negative," and the normal "on" state means "positive." 



Radio Buttons 

Radio buttons are particular groups of mutually exclusive Toggle buttons. No more than one Radio Button in 
a given group can be "on" at one time. 



Number Buttons 



. SizeX: 


640 




SizeV: 480 ► 


h AspX: 


100 


T 


.ispV: 


1 00 . 1 










■ 


R 1 .000 




^ 


^j 


G 0.000 















B 1 .000 




^ 


_il 



Number buttons 



Number buttons (Number buttons) can be identified by their captions, which contain a colon followed by a 
number. Number buttons are handled in several ways: To increase the value, click LMB ^-J on the right of the 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 69 



Buttons and Controls Menu Buttons 

button, where the small triangle is shown; to decrease it, cUck on the left of the button, where another triangle 
is shown. 

To change the value in a wider range, hold down LMB tJ and drag the mouse to the left or right. If you hold 
CTRL while doing this, the value is changed in discrete steps; if you hold SHIFT, you'll have finer control 
over the values. ENTER can be used in place of LMB ■- here. 

You can enter a value directly by holding SHIFT and cUcking LMB B. You can also enter simple equations, 
like 3*2 instead of 6. Handy geometric constants to remember: pi is 3.14 and the square root of two is 1.414. 
Press SHIFT-BACKSPACE to clear the value; SHIFT-LEFT ARROW to move the cursor to the beginning; 
and SHIFT-RIGHT ARROW to move the cursor to the end. Press ESC to restore the original value. 

Some number buttons contain a slider rather than just a number with side triangles. The same method of 
operation applies, except that single LMB *- clicks must be performed on the left or on the right of the slider, 
while clicking on the label or the number automatically enters keyboard input mode. 



Menu Buttons 

Use the Menu buttons to choose from dynamically created lists. Menu buttons are principally used to link 
DataBlocks to each other. (DataBlocks are structures like Meshes, Objects, Materials, Textures, and so on; by 
linking a Material to an Object, you assign it.) 

345" 




MA:Material 



X © F 



Datablock link buttons 

You can see an example for such a block of buttons in {Datablock link buttons). 

• 1 - The first button (with the tiny up and down pointing triangles) opens a menu that lets you select 
the DataBlock to hnk to by holding down LMB Sj and releasing it over the requested item. 

• 2 - The second button displays the type and name of the linked DataBlock and lets you edit its name 
after clicking LMB B. 

• 3 - The "X" button clears the link. 

• 4 - The "car" button generates an automatic name for the DataBlock. 

• 5 - And the "F" button specifies whether the DataBlock should be saved in the file even if it is unused 
(unlinked). 

Unhnked objects 

Unlinked data is not lost until you quit Blender. This is a powerful Undo feature, if you delete an object the 
material assigned to it becomes unlinked, but is still there ! You just have to re-link it to another object or 
press the "F" button. 

Color Selector controls 

Some controls pop-up a dialog panel. For example. Color controls, when clicked, will pop up a Color 
Selector dialog; see (Color Selector). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 70 



Buttons and Controls 



Cascade Buttons 




Color Selector 



Cascade Buttons 

Occasionally, some buttons actually reveal addition buttons. For example, the Ramps panel has a Cascade 
button called Colorband that reveals additional buttons dealing with colorbanding; see (Colorband before) and 
{Colorband after). 




Colorband before 



Colorband after 



Previous: Next: 

Manual/Partl/Interface/Panels Manual/Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 Minutes Part I 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



71 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 Minutes Part I 
User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 Minutes Part I 

This chapter will guide you through the animation of a small "Gingerbread Man" character. We will describe 
each step completely, but we will assume that you have read the interface chapter, and that you understand the 
conventions used throughout this book. 

In Part I of this tutorial we'll build a still Gingerbread Man. Then, in Part II, we will make him walk. 

Note 

For a much more in-depth introduction to Blender that focuses on character animation, check out the 

Blender Summer of Documentation Introduction to Character Animation tutorial. 




9. 






A 



Just like the "Gus the Gingerbread Man" tutorial you see here, the BSoD Intro to Character Animation 
tutorial assumes no prior knowledge. It guides you through the process of making a walking, talking character 
from scratch and covers many powerful features of Blender not found here. 

The BSoD Intro to Character Animation also has a downloadable PDF version (3. 75 MB) for offline viewing. 



Warming up 

Let's start Blender. On the screen you should see, from the top view, the default set-up. A camera, a light, and 
a cube. The cube should already be selected, as indicated by its pink color. (Default Blender screen as soon as 
you start it.). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 72 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 Minutes Part I 



-^ Bltndtr 



!□ Bj s 



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Default Blender screen as soon as you start it (small). 

We will organize our working area by placing objects on different layers where we can hide them; we can also 
bring them back in the current scene whenever we need them. Here is how layers work: 



Layer visibility controls. 

Blender provides you with twenty layers to help to organize your work. You can see which layers are 
currently visible from the group of twenty buttons in the 3D window header (Layer visibility controls). You 
can change the visible layer with LMB t] and toggle visibility with Shift LMB f . The last layer that is turned 
on becomes the active layer. The active layer is where all objects that will be created are stored. 

So let's clean up the place. 



m 



OK I 



Layer control toolbox. 

Select the camera and the lamp with Shift RMB 'J and press M. A small toolbox, like the one in (Layer 
control toolbox), will appear beneath your mouse, with the first button checked, which means that the selected 
objects are stored in Layer 1. Check the rightmost button on the top row and then click on OK. This will move 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



73 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Building the body 



your camera and lamp to layer 10. 



Now make sure that only Layerl is visible, because we wouldn't want to erase the lamp or the camera ; select 
everything on that layer using A and erase it with X » Erase Selected Object(s). This leaves all the room we 
can wish for to begin our modelling job. 



Building tlie body 



Change to the front view with NumPad 1 and add a cube — if one is not present — by pressing SPACE » 
Add » Mesh » Cube. A cube will appear. Press TAB, and it will be in Edit Mode. (Our cube in Edit Mode, 
all vertices selected). 





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^H 




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^H 




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Our cube in Edit Mode, all vertices selected. 

Edit Mode and Object Mode 

Edit Mode is a mode in which you can edit the vertices of the mesh. By default, all vertices are selected for 
every new object created (selected vertices are highlighted in yellow - unselected vertices are pink). In 
Object Mode, vertices cannot be selected or individually edited; the object can be changed only as a whole. 
You can press TAB to switch between these two modes, and the current mode is indicated in the header of 
the 3D window. 

On many occasions you may have vertices hidden behind other vertices, as is the case here. Our subdivided 
cube has 26 vertices, yet you can only see nine because the others are hidden. A normal RMB ' click selects 
only one of these stacked vertices, whereas a box select selects them all. But beware that by default this is true 
only for the wireframe drawtype : in any other mode. Shaded, Solid or Textured we can only select visible 
vertices, even with box select. To select vertices that are hidden behind others uncheck the limit selection 
button (Limit selection button).} } 



We will call our Gingerbread man "Gus". Our first task is to build Gus's body by working on the vertices of 
our Cube. To see the Blender tools that we'll use for this purpose, press the button showing a square with 
yellow vertices in the Button window header {The Edit Buttons Window button), or press F9 



f. 



LZnLJ 



Panels 



@ m ^^MQ 1 



The Edit Buttons Window button. 

Now locate the Subdivide button in the Mesh Tools panel and press it once {The Mesh Tools panel in the Edit 
context (F9)). This will split each side of the cube in two, creating new vertices and faces {The cube, 
subdivided once). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



74 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Building the body 



▼ Mesh Tools 














: Beauty 


Short 


Subdivide 


Innervert g£ 




Noise 




U=.c-h 1^ VcnK+ 1 rK-:.r-+^l 


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To S;: he re 








Flip Normals 


Rem Doubles 


^ Limit: 0.001 














Extrude 














Screw 


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Keep Original 


MS— 


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The cube, subdivided once. 
The Mesh Tools panel in the Edit context (F9). 
With your cursor hovering in the 3D window press A to deselect all elements. Vertices will turn pink. 



r^/iA [g| 



Limit 

selection 

button 



Box Select 



On many occasions you may have vertices hidden behind other vertices, as is the case here. Our subdivided 
cube has 26 vertices, yet you can only see nine because the others are hidden. A normal RMB click selects 
only one of these stacked vertices, whereas a box select selects them all. But beware that by default this is 
true only for the wireframe drawtype : in any other mode. Shaded, Solid or Textured we can only select 
visible vertices, even with box select. To select vertices that are hidden behind others uncheck the Limit 
selection button. The button is selected in the image at the right. 
You must have the Limit selection button unselected ^ to continue this tutorial. 

Now press B, the cursor will change to a couple of orthogonal grey lines. Move the cursor above the top left 
corner of the cube, press and hold LMB ^- , then drag the mouse down and to the right so that the grey box 
encompasses all the leftmost vertices. Now release the LMB -' (The sequence of Box selecting a group of 
vertices). 




The sequence of Box selecting a group of vertices. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



75 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



IVIirror modelling 



^^B 


^^H 




■ 


I 


I 


Erase 




1 


1 


Edges 

Faces 

All 

Edges & Faces 

Only Faces 

Edge Loop 


1 


1 


1 


1 







The pop-up menu of the Delete (X) action. 

Press X and from the popup menu select Vertices to erase the selected vertices {The pop -up menu of the 
Delete (X) action). 



Mirror modelling 

To model symmetrical Objects we can use the Mirror modifier. It allows us to model only one side of Gus 
while Blender creates the other in real time. Go to the Edit context (F9) and find the Modifiers panel, (The 
modifiers panel). 




The modifiers panel. 



List of modifiers. 



It is pretty empty for the moment. Clicking the button marked Add Modifier opens a list from which you'll 
choose Mirror(Lwf of modifiers). 

Nothing much seems to happen; that is because the modifiers offer quite a bit of control over what's displayed 
and what's not. In our case we will check the Cage Mode button so we can see the transparent faces in Edit 
Mode, (Cage Mode button). 




Add Modifier 



V Mirror 



To: Plane 

rMrngi Q O© x 



U 



1 Apply modifier to editing ca^e during Editmode 
V|Z| Do Clipping | | Copy | "^H 



Cage Mode button. 

We choose the axis that will run from the modelled side of our character to the side Blender is completing by 
checking either the X, Y or Z button; the mirror plane is perpendicular to that axis. In our case it is the 
X-axis, (Axis perpendicular to the mirror plane). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



76 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Arms and Legs 



Mirror 



O ©© X 



E 



Merge Limit: 0.0010 



1 



Z I Do Ciipping 



ftppiy 



Copy 



pecify the axis to mirror aiaout 



Axis perpendicular to the mirror plane. 

The Merge Limits button (Merge Limits button) acts as a safety net. Any vertex closer to the mirror plane, 
than the limit we set, will be placed exactly on the mirror plane. The limit can be set from 0.000 to 1.000 units 
and how big it should be depends on the nature and the scale of the current job. 

For modelling Gus, a vertex that would be more than 0.1 units away from the mirror plane would be 
noticeable but anything closer might not. Our mesh could end up ripped in the middle if vertices that should 
be on the mirror plane aren't. To avoid inadvertently neglecting a wandering vertex, we should set the Merge 
Limits to 0.1. 



V Mirror 



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nee from axis within which mirrored vertices are merged 




Merge Limits button. 

Finally, with the Do Clipping button checked (Do Clipping button), our mirror becomes a frontier that no 
vertex can cross. If this were to happen it would cause quite a mess. Also, when Do Clipping is active, every 
vertex that is on the mirror sticks to it. 



Merge Limit: 0.1010 



V Z 



It 



ftppiy 



Copy 



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Tprevents during Transform vertices to go through Mirror 

Do Clipping button. 

As you can see, the Mirror modifier gives us a lot of features to make our lives easier. 



Arms and Legs 

Let's create Gus's arms and legs. Using the sequence you just learned. Box Select the two top-right-most 
vertices (Extruding the arm in two steps), left) which will actually select the other two behind them, for a total 
of four vertices. Press E and click on the Region menu entry to extrude them. This will create new movable 
vertices and faces which you can move with the mouse. Move them one and a half squares to the right, then 
click LMB to fix their position. Extrude again with E then move the new vertices another half a square to 
the right. (Extruding the arm in two steps) shows this sequence. 





29/01/2009 13.49.52 



77 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Arms and Legs 



Extruding the arm in two steps. 



Undo/Redo 

Blender has two Undo features, one for Edit Mode and the other for Object Mode. 

In Edit Mode press Ctrl Z to Undo and keep pressing Ctrl Z to roll back changes as long as the Undo buffer 
will allow; Shift Ctrl Z re-does changes. Alt U opens a menu with a list of possible undos so that you can 
easily find the point you want to revert to. 

Two things to remember: 

• Undo in Edit Mode works only for the Object currently in that mode. 

• Undo data is not lost when you switch out of Edit Mode, but it is as soon as you start editing a 
dijferent Object in Edit Mode. 

In Object Mode the same shortcuts apply. Ctrl Z to undo. Shift Ctrl Z to redo and Alt U to see the history. If 
you made changes in Edit Mode that are not lost for that Object, they will all be undone in one single shot 
with Ctrl Z when this step — marked as Edit Mode in the Object Mode (Alt U) history — has its turn. 

If you change your mind in the middle of an action, you can cancel it immediately and revert to the previous 
state by pressing ESC or RMB 'J. 



Coincident vertices 

Extruding works by first creating new vertices and then moving them. If in the process of moving you change 
your mind and press ESC or RMB t-3 to cancel, the new vertices will still be there, on top of the original ones ! 
The simplest way to go back to the state before you started extruding is to Undo (Ctrl Z). It is sometimes 
useful to intentionally create new vertices this way and then move, scale or rotate them by pressing G,S or R. 




Body. 

Gus should now have a left arm that you modelled (he's facing us) and a right arm that Blender added. We 
will build the left leg the same way by extruding the lower vertices three times. Try to produce something like 
in {Body). If you are using Extrude - Region, you will have to clear the transformation constraint (by clicking 
with MMB '-!) if you want to move the new vertices around freely. Otherwise your legs will end up going 
straight down, rather than down and to the side as in {Body). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



78 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Tine Head 



Note 

You will need to uncheck "Do Clipping" if you were using it before (otherwise Gus will end up with a skirt 
rather than pants). 

We're done with mirror modelling. In the next steps we will experiment with other techniques. We need to 
make the right part of our model real since nothing done with modifiers is permanent unless we apply the 
changes. With Gus being in Object Mode (press TAB), click on the Apply button of the Mirror modifier. 



The Head 

Gus needs a head. 

Change back to Edit Mode (press TAB) 

Move the cursor to exactly one square above Gus's body (leftmost image of Adding the head) and add a new 
cube (SPACE>ADD>Cube). To place the cursor at a specific grid point, position it next to where you want it 
and press SHIFT+S to bring up the Snap Menu. Cursor to Grid places the cursor exactly on a grid point. 
That's what we want right now. Cursor to Selection places it exactly on the selected object, which is 
sometimes handy. 

Now press G to switch to Grab Mode and move the newly created vertices down, constraining the movement 
by moving the head down a bit and clicking MMB '—', for about one third of a grid unit (rightmost image of 

Adding the head.). 






Adding the head. 



Subsurfaces (subsurf) 




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The Subsurf modifier in the Modifiers panel of the Editing context (F9) 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



79 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Constrained Scaling 



So far what we have produced is a rough figure at best. To make it smoother, locate the Modifier panel in the 
Editing context (F9) and add a Subsurf modifier, (The Subsmi modifier in the Modifiers panel). Be sure to set 
both Levels NumButtons below or at 2. The first Level is for what you'll see in the 3D Window area, the 
second for the renderer. 

Subsurfaces 

SubSurfacing is an advanced modelling tool, it dynamically refines a given coarse mesh creating a much 
denser mesh and locating the vertices of the finer mesh so that they smoothly follow the original coarse mesh. 
The shape of the Object is still controlled by the location of the coarse mesh vertices, but the rendered shape 
is a finely smooth mesh. 



Switch out of Edit Mode (TAB) and from the current Wireframe mode to Solid mode using Z to have 
a look at Gus. He should look like {Setting Gus to smooth, left). 




Setting Gus to smooth. 

• To make Gus look smooth, press the SetSmooth button found in the Link and Material panel of the 
Editing context (F9). Gus will now appear smooth although he may wear some funny black lines in 
his middle. This is usually avoided if you used the Mirror Modifier but it might happen when 
extruding and flipping, as it was done before the modifier was introduced. {Setting Gus to smooth., 
middle). These lines appear because the SubSurf s finer mesh is computed using information about the 
coarse mesh normal directions, which may not all point in the right direction, that is, some face 
normals might point outward and some inward. To reset the normals, switch back to Edit Mode 
(TAB), select all vertices (A), and press Ctrl N. Click with LMB ^-^ on the Recalculate normals outside 
box which appears. Now Gus should be nice and smooth {Setting Gus to smooth, right). 

Press MMB '— ' and drag the mouse around to view Gus from all angles. Oops, he is too thick! 



Constrained Scaling 

{Slimming Gus using constrained scaling., left). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



80 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Let's see what Gus looks like 





























































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Slimming Gus using constrained scaling. 
Let's make Gus thinner: 

• Switch to Edit Mode if you are not there already (TAB), then back to Wireframe mode (Z), and select 
all vertices with A. You can do the following steps just as well in Object Mode, if you like. 

• Press S and start to move the mouse horizontally. (Click MMB ^ to constrain scaling to just one axis 
or press Y to obtain the same result). If you now move the mouse toward Gus he should become 
thinner but remain the same height. 

• The header of the 3DWindow toolbar shows the scaling factor {Slimming Gus using constrained 
scaling., center). Press and hold CTRL. The scale factor will now vary in discrete steps of value 0.1. 
Scale Gus down so that the factor is 0.2, then set this dimension by clicking LMB B^ {Slimming Gus 
using constrained scaling., right). 

• Return to Front view and to Solid mode (Z), then rotate your view via MMB LI. Gus is much better 
now! 



Let's see what Gus looks like 

We're just about ready to see our first rendering, but first, we have some work to do. 
• Switch to Object Mode if not already there (TAB). 



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Making both layer 1 and 10 visible. 

• Shift LMB ^-J on the top right small button of the layer visibility buttons in the 3DWindow toolbar 
{Making both layer 1 and 10 visible.) to make both Layer 1 (Gus's layer) and Layer 10 (the layer with 
the camera and the lamp) visible. 

A Tip 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



81 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Camera setup 



Remember that the last layer selected is the active layer, so all subsequent additions will automatically be on 
layer 10. 



• Press N to bring up the Transform Properties window (The Panel for numerical input of object 
position/rotation etc). The location of the camera is specified by LocX, LocY, and LocZ. 











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The Panel for numerical input of object position/rotation etc. 

• Select the camera ( RMB 'J) and move it to a location like (x=7, y=-10, z=7). Do this by pressing G 
and dragging the camera. You may need to change views and move the camera a second time to 
adjust all three coordinates. If you prefer to enter numerical values for an object's location you can do 
so by holding SHIFT and clicking LMB t] on a NumButton and then entering the desired value. 
Remember to press ENTER to confirm your input. 



Camera setup 

To make the camera point at Gus, keep your camera selected then select Gus via Shift RMB '- . The camera 
should be magenta and Gus light pink. Now press Ctrl T and select the TrackTo Constraint entry in the pop 
up. This will force the camera to track Gus and always point at him. This means that you can move the camera 
wherever you want and be sure that Gus will always be in the center of the camera's view. 

Tracking 

If you choose the option Old Track and the camera has a rotation of its own, as is often the case, it could 
point in an unexpected direction. In that case select the tracking object (in our example the camera), and press 
ALT-R to remove the object's rotation. Once you do this the camera will really track Gus. 

{Camera position with respect to Gus) shows top, front, side and camera view of Gus. To obtain a camera 
view press NumPad or select View»Camera. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



82 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Tine Ground 




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Camera position with respect to Gus. 

The Ground 

Now we need to create the ground for Gus to stand on. 

• In top view (NumPad 7 or View»Top), and in Object Mode, add a plane 
(SPACE»Add»Mesh»Plane). 

Note 

It is important to be out of Edit Mode, otherwise the newly added object would be part of the object currently 
in Edit Mode, as when we added Gus' head. 

• Switch to the Front view (NumPad 1 or View»Front) and move (G) the plane down to Gus's feet, 
using CTRL to keep it aligned with Gus. 

• Go to Camera view (NumPad or View»Camera) and, with the plane still selected, press S to start 
scaling. 

• Enlarge the plane so that its edges extend beyond the camera viewing area, as indicated by the outer 
white dashed rectangle in Camera view. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



83 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Lights 



Lights 

Now, lets add some light! 

• In Top view (NumPad 7), move the existing Lamp light (if you do not have a Lamp light in your 
scene you can add one with SPACE»Add»Lamp»Lamp) in front of Gus, but on the other side of 
the camera; for example to (x= -9, y= -10, z=7) (Inserting a Lamp.). 




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Inserting a Lamp. 



The Lamp buttons window button. 

• Switch to the Shading context (F5) and then the Lamp buttons window via the sub-context button 
with a lamp in the Button Window header (The Lamp buttons window button.). 



In the Buttons Window, Preview Panel, press the Spot toggle button to make the lamp a Spotlight 
(Spot light settings.) of pale yellow (R=l, G=l, B=0.9). Adjust Samples: to 4 and SpotBl: to 1.0. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



84 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Rendering 








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Spot light settings. 

• Make this spotlight track Gus just as you did for the camera by selecting Spot, SHIFT, then Gus, then 
by pressing Ctrl T»TrackTo Constraint. 

• Add a second lamp that provides more uniform fill light via (SPACE»Add»Lamp»Hemi). Set its 
Energy to 0.5 {Hemi lamp settings). Move it a httle above the camera (x= 7, y= -10, z=9) and set it to 
track Gus as before. 




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Two lamps? 



Use two or more lamps to help produce soft, realistic lighting, because in reality natural light never comes 
from a single point. 



Rendering 

We're almost ready to render. As a first step, press the Scene context button and the Render sub-context 
button in the Button window header (The Rendering buttons window buttons.). 



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The Rendering buttons window buttons. 

We will use the default rendering settings, as shown in (The Rendering Buttons window). 




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29/01/2009 13.49.52 



85 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Saving our work 



Now press the RENDER button or F12. The resuU, shown in (Your first rendering. Congratulations!), is 
actually quite poor. We still need materials, and lots of details, such as eyes, and so on. 




Your first rendering. Congratulations! 



Saving our work 



^pffii Add Timeline Game Render 


New 


Ctrl X 


Open... 


F1 


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Recover Last Session 






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Save Image... 


F3 


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Save Default Settings 


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The Save menu. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



86 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



IVIaterials and Textures 



If you have not done so already, now would be a good time to save your work, via the File»Save menu 
shown in The Save menu., or Ctrl W. Blender will warn you if you try to overwrite an existing file. 

Blender does automatic saves into your system's temporary directory. By default, this happens every four 
minutes and the file name is a number. Loading these saves is another way to undo unwanted changes. 



Materials and Textures 



It's time to give Gus some nice cookie-like material. 



IMISIMI ^MUEl 



The Material Buttons window Button. 

• Select Gus. Then, in the Button Window header, select the Shading Context by pressing the red dot 
button {The Material Buttons window Button.) or pressing F5. Then press the red dot sub-context 
button to access the Material panels. 



Link to Object 
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The Material Menu button. 



The Button window will be almost empty because Gus has no materials yet. To add a material, click 
on the Menu Button in the Material Panel (the one with two triangles, pointing up and down) and 
select Add New {The Material Menu button.). 



• The Buttons window will be populated by Panels and Buttons and a string holding the Material name, 
something like "Material. 001", will appear next to the white square button. Click the name and 
change it to something meaningful, like "GingerBread" (don't type the quotes). 



• Modify the default values as per {The Material Buttons window and a first gingerbread material) to 
obtain a first rough material. Note that you must click the Shaders tab to reveal the shader panel. 



wmmm 



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The Material Buttons window and a first gingerbread material. 

• Press the Menu Button in the Textures Panel area {The Textures menu button in the Material Buttons) 
and select Add new. We're adding a texture in the first channel. Call it "GingerTex." 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



87 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



IVIaterials and Textures 



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The Texture Buttons window Button. 

• Select the Texture Buttons by clicking the button in (The Texture Buttons window Button) or by 
pressing F6. 



' From the columns of ToggleButtons which appear in the Texture panel select Stucci and set all 
parameters as in {The Texture Buttons window with a stucci texture). 



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The Texture Buttons window with a stucci texture. 

• Return to the Material buttons (F5) and set the Map Input and Map To tabs of the Texture Panel as in 
(Settings for the Stucci texture in the Material Buttons window). Release the Col Toggle Button and 
set the Nor Toggle Button, then raise the Nor slider to 0.75. These changes will make our Stucci 
texture act as a "bumpmap" and make Gus look more biscuit-like. 







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• Now add a second texture, name it "Grain", and make it affect only the Ref property with a 0.4 Var 
(Settings for an additional Noise texture in channel 2). The texture itself is a plain Noise texture. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



88 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Eyes and detail 




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Settings for an additional Noise texture in channel 2. 

• Give the ground an appropriate material, such as the dark blue one shown in (A very simple material 
for the ground). 




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Eyes and detail 



To give some finishing touches we'll add eyes and some other details. 



First make Layer 1 the only one visible by clicking with LMB tJ on the layer 1 button {Layer visibility 
buttons on toolbar). This will hide the lamps, camera, and ground. 



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Layer visibility buttons on toolbar. 

• Place the cursor at the center of Gus's head. (Remember that you are in 3D so be sure to check at least 
two views to be sure ! ) 

• In Object Mode, add a sphere (SPACE»ADD»Mesh»UVsphere). You will be asked for the 
number of Segments: (meridians) and Rings: (parallels) into which to divide the sphere. The default 
of 32 is more than we need here, so use a value of 16 for both. The sphere is in the first image at the 
top left of the sequence in {Sequence for creation of the eyes). 

• Scale the sphere down (S) to a factor of about 0.15 in all dimensions, then switch to side view 
(NumPad 3) and scale it only in the horizontal direction (Y) a further 0.5, see the second two images 
in {Sequence for creation of the eyes). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



89 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



IVIouth 




Sequence for creation of the eyes. 

• Zoom a little if necessary via NumPad +, MW '-, or Ctrl MMB O, and drag the sphere (G) to the left 
so that it is halfway into the head, as shown in the first image in the second row of {Sequence for 
creation of the eyes). 

• Return to front view (NumPad 1) and move the sphere sideways, to the right. Place it where Gus 
should have an eye. 




The crosshair pivot button. 

• Flip a duplicate around the cursor: 

Select the crosshair pivot button in the header of the 3D window {The crosshair pivot button). In Edit 
Mode, press A to select all. Shift D to duplicate, and ESC to stop placing it with the mouse. Then 
press M to mirror followed by X to mirror around the X axis. Return the pivot button to its default 
setting (Median Point). 

Mirroring 

Mirroring can also be done in object mode using CTRL M. 
Now Gus has two eyes. 



Mouth 



Exit Edit Mode (TAB), and place the cursor as close as you can (remember the Shift S key) to the 
center of Gus's face. Add a new sphere and scale and move it exactly as before, but make it smaller 
and place it lower than and to the right of the cursor, centered on the SubSurfed mesh vertex Creating 
a mouth with Spinning tools.). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



90 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



IVIouth 



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The Spin Tools buttons in the Edit Buttons window. 

• Switch to Edit Mode (TAB). Now, in the Edit Buttons (F9), locate the group of buttons at bottom in 
the Mesh Tools Panel (The Spin Tools buttons in the Edit Buttons window.). Set Degr: to 90, Steps: to 
3, and verify that the Clockwise: TogButton is on. Then, with all vertices still selected, press 
SpinDup. This will create three duplicates of the selected vertices on an arc of 90 degrees, centered 
around the cursor. The result should be Gus's mouth, like the last image of the sequence shown in 
Creating a mouth with Spinning tools.. 



• Now go back to Object Mode and add three more spheres to form Gus's buttons. Once you have made 
one button, you can simply exit Edit Mode, press Shift D to create a duplicate, and move the 

duplicate into place, as shown in The complete Gus!. 

Attaching the spheres 

If we want to be able to grab Gus and move him around as a whole (this goes beyond the animation in the 
second part of this tutorial), we now need to attach the small spheres representing eyes, mouth, and buttons to 
the body. Enter Object Mode. Press A until nothing is selected. Now right click one sphere (if more than one 
is selected as a group, that's ok). Holding SHIFT, select the body. Then hit CTRLP and left click Make parent 
on the pop up. Deselect everything and repeat to attach each element. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



91 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Eyes material 




The complete Gus ! 



Eyes material 

Give the eyes a chocolate-hke material, like the one shown at the top in Some other candy materials.. Give 
the mouth a white sugar like material, like the second one shown in {Some other candy materials), and give 
the buttons a red, white, and green sugar like material. These are shown from top to bottom in {Some other 
candy materials) too. 




Full osa Slranas I wire 






| i?ll | R 1J300 



j Snt 



IW 



ifeMHSvlpvrj U 1 jooo 



C1J00 



BIJOOO 




TrafiauiMia' OJM - 
A¥[aD.so—i ; Igfiita.ooi- 



ISttntjMtlNcRGl iMiK >l 


^^^^^^^H 


coiinoa^^^i 


^m^^^Sj 


(i*iSdi 








BIJMO^^I 


Oteo0.2a«i 






DMtr 1 .0^^— 1 


IVftrlftftO. 1 1 




I Hard I BiyMil ma I Snil [ Tr^kj IDlai) 



TranaiBancv 536" 



KgJM 



I &ii\ O.nOr 



laemJffcfMoftCllMij; 


!™a^^S 




NofO.SO 1 — 


G nflM 1 


Uh I jOOO ^~i 


B 1 -IMO ■ 


Oiao 0.30-1 






\aiAt li^^^j 


Vftrlftto 1 



Some other candy materials. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



92 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Rendering 





r- 










GreenSugar 


1 


Ginger Bread 
1 Choecolate 
1 ADD NEW 


■i 


P^ MA: Fled Sugar \X\ 



Material Menu. 

Objects sharing a material 

To give one object the same material as another object, select that material in the Material Menu list which 
appears when you press the Menu Button ButtonWindow Material Panel, see (Material Menu). 

Rendering 

Once you have finished assigning materials, make layer 10 visible again (remember how? Hint, look at the 3D 
window header), so that lights and the camera also appear, and do a new rendering (F12). 

The result should look more or less like (The complete Gus still rendering). 




The complete Gus still rendering. 



Saving 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



93 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part I 



Rendering 




AspX: 100 



PNG 




^i 


Crop 


■ Quality 


90 > ^ Frs/sec 


25 


BW 




RGBA 



PANO 



FULL 



Unified Rend 



J 



File type selection menu in the Rendering Buttons window. 

Save your image by pressing F3. Enter the name of your image in the file window and save. 

You must choose the image format (JPEG, PNG, and so on) by setting it in the Rendering buttons before 
pressing F3 {The Rendering buttons window buttons) and using the Menu {File type selection menu in the 
Rendering Buttons window) in the Format Panel. 

Blender does not add an extension to the file name; you must enter one if you wish. 



Previous: 

Manual/Partl/The Vital 
Functions 


Contents 


Next: 
Manual/Partl/Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 Minutes Part II 





29/01/2009 13.49.52 



94 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part II Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 Minutes Part II 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 Minutes Part II 

If we were going for a still picture, our work up to this point would be enough, but we want Gus to move! The 
next step is to give him a skeleton, or Armature, which will move him. This is called the fine art of rigging. 
Gus will have a very simple rigging: four limbs (two arms and two legs) and a few joints (no elbows, only 
knees), but no feet or hands. 



Rigging 



To add the rigging: 




Adding the first bone, an elbowless arm. 

• Set your 3D cursor where Gus's shoulder is, and press SPACE»Add» Armature. A rhomboidal 
object will appear, which is a bone of the armature system. Enter Edit mode. The end of the bone is 
selected (yellow). 

• Place the other end of the armature in Gus's hand by grabbing (G) and moving the end, (Adding the 
first bone, an elbowless arm). We don't need any other bones right now. You should now have one 
bone mnning from the shoulder to the hand area. As you move the end, you will notice that the whole 
bone gets bigger; you really are scaling up the bone. 



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95 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part II Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 Minutes Part II 




Adding the second and third bones, a leg bone chain. 

• Stay in Edit mode, then move the cursor to where the hip joint will be and add a new bone 
(SPACE»Add»Bone). 

• Grab (G) and move the yellow end of the new bone to the knee area. 

• Now "chain" a new bone from the knee to the foot by Ctrl LMB ^- in the area of the foot. A new 
"chained" bone will appear automatically linked with the knee and ending at the foot, (Adding the 
second and third bones, a leg bone chain). Another way of "chaining" the new bone would be to 
extmde using the (E). This variation creates the new bone and places you in grab mode automatically. 
Use the LMB tl to then place the bone. 

Bone position 

The bones we are adding will deform Gus's body mesh. To produce a neat result, try to place the bone joints 
as shown in the illustrations. We now have three bones that make up Gus's Armature. 






The complete armature after duplicating and flipping. 

• Now place the cursor in the center and select all bones with A. Duplicate them with Shift D and exit 
grab mode with ESC. Make sure the cursor is selected as the rotation/scaling pivot. Flip the bones 
along the X axis relative to the cursor with CTRLM and then X. You end up with {The complete 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



96 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part II 



Skinning 



armature after duplicating and ftipping). 



Once you've selected all of the bones (A), the Edit Buttons window should show an Armature Panel and 
Armature Bones Panel which contains the Armature controls {Armature panel and Armature Bones panel). 



^^^^^^^^^^^^B 


Editing Options 


X-teis Mirror Edit | 


X-Ra/ 1 


Automatic il^ | 


Dispiay Options 


■ilSH!i!^n Stick 1 B 


-Bone 1 Enveiope 


1 Draw P^es \ Draw Names | 


Ghost: '1 -etep: 1' 


Deform Options 




1 Rest Position | 


Deiai^ Deform 1 





Armature panel. 



T Afmature E 


tones 






Selected Bones 






BO:Afm.L 


child of 1 


''\ 




< Segm: 1 


► * Di3t:0.25 1 


Weight: 1 .00 




IHinge | 


■tllll.iJii^ Muit 


1 Hide 


BOiUpLeg.L 


child of 1 


:| 




Segm: 1 


► * Di3t:0.33 1 


Weight: 1 .00 ► 




Hinge P 


IjM^ Muit 


1 Hide 


EO:LoLeg.L 


child of 1 Up Leg 


L -WSSi 




Segm: 1 


Di3t:0.13 1 


Weight: 1 .00 > 




Hinge | 


1 Muit 


1 Hide 


BO:Arm.R 


child of 1 


^1 




Segm: 1 


^ H Dist:0.25 1 


Weight: 1 .00 




Hinge | 


l44l>JJiiH Muit 


_J Hide 


EOiUpLeg.R 


child of 1 


^1 




Segm: 1 


>■ * Di3t:0.33 1 


Weight: 1 .00 




Hinge P 


■»ai'.iai';^ Muit 


1 Hide 


EOiLoLeg.R 


child of [ Up Leg 


R s-rara 




Segm: 1 


Dist:0.13 1 


Weight: 1 .00 <■ 




Hinge | 


''n Muit 


1 Hide 


E0:Bone.006 


child of lArm.L 


-rami 




" Segm: 1 


► < Dist:0.00 1 


Weight:!. 00 > 




Hinge | 


Illlll^lJiiH Muit 


1 Hide 








J 



Armature Bones panel. 

Press the Draw Names button to see the names of the bones in 3D View, then LMB ^ click on the names in 
the Edit Button window to change them to something appropriate like Arm.R, Arm.L, UpLeg.R, LoLeg.R, 
UpLeg.L and LoLeg.L, see {The Edit Buttons window for an armature). Exit EditMode with (TAB). 

Naming Bones 

It is very important to name your bones with a trailing '.L' or '.R' to distinguish between left and right ones, so 
that the Action editor will be able to automatically flip your poses. 



Skinning 

Now we must make it such that a deformation in the armature causes a matching deformation in the body. We 
do this with Skinning, which assigns vertices to bones so that the former are subject to the latter's movements. 

• In ObjectMode, select Gus's body, then SHIFT select the armature so that the body is magenta and the 
armature is light pink. 

• Press Ctrl P to parent the body to the armature. The {Parenting menu) will appear. Select the 
Armature entry. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



97 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part II 



Skinning 




Create Vertex Groups? 

Don't Create Groups 
Name Groups 



Create From Closest Be 



Parenting menu. ^ * t? * r^ 

'^ Create Vertex Group 



menu. 



Armature parented. 

A new menu appears, asking if you want Blender to do nothing, create empty vertex groups, or create 
and populate vertex groups (Create Vertex Group menu). The last option is considered automatic 
skinning. 



< We'll use the automatic skinning option. Go ahead and select Create From Closest Bones. Now select 
just Gus's body and switch to EditMode (TAB). Notice in the Edit Buttons Window (F9) the presence 
of the "Vertex Groups" menu and buttons in the Link and Materials Panel, {The vertex groups buttons 
in the Edit Buttons window). 



Link and r^aterials 



ME:Cute.001 



F OE:Cube.001 



Vertex Groups 



i|A-m.R 


- Weight: 1 .000 ► 


New 


Delete 


Assign 


Remove 


Select 


Desel. 



MatO 



New 



Select 



Delete 



Deselect 



Assign 



Set Smoot Set Solid 




Select Mesh 



A Edit M 



©HQM^S 



OB:Cube 



Ginger Bread 



1 Mat: 1 ? 




New 


1 Delete 


Select 


1 Deselect 


Assign 



Set Smoot Set Solid 



The vertex groups buttons in the Edit Buttons 

window 

The menu with the vertex groups automatically created in the 

skinning process. 

By pressing the Menu Button a menu, with all available vertex groups, pops up — six in our case. But a truly 

complex character, with hands and feet completely rigged, can have tens of them! See {The menu with the 

vertex groups automatically created in the skinning process). The buttons Select and Deselect show you 

which vertices belong to which group. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



98 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part II 



Skinning 




Gus in EditMode with all the vertices of group Arm.R selected. 

Select the Right arm group (Arm.R) and, with all vertices de-selected (A, if needed) press Select. You should 
see something like (Gus in EditMode with all the vertices of group Arm.R selected). 

If you don't see the same thing then you probably placed the bones in just the right place such that the auto 
skinning process did a better job of matching vertices with bones. It is highly unlikely that the skinning 
process matched the vertices to the bones as exactly as you may expect. This requires that you begin to 
manually adjust the grouping as described in the following sections. 

The vertices marked with yellow circles in (Gus in EditMode with all the vertices of group Arm.R selected) 
belong to the deformation group, however, they should not. 

The auto skinning process found that they were very close to the bone so it added them to the deformation 
group. We don't want them in this group since some are in the head and some are in the chest, adding them to 
the deformation group would deform those body parts as well. 



To remove them from the group, deselect all the other vertices, those which should remain in the group using 



Box selection (B), but use MMB 
deselected. 



-', not LMB -, to define the box, so that all vertices within the box become 



Once the 'undesired' vertices are selected, press the Remove button (The vertex groups buttons in the Edit 
Buttons window) to eliminate them from group (Arm.R). Deselect all (A) then check another group. Check 
them all and be sure that they look like those in {The six vertex groups). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



99 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part II 



Vertex groups 




The six vertex groups. 



Vertex groups 

Be very careful when assigning or removing vertices from vertex groups. If later on you see unexpected 
deformations, you might have forgotten some vertices, or placed too many in the group. You can modify your 
vertex groups at any time. 

Other details 

Our deformations will affect only Gus's body, not his eyes, mouth, or buttons, which are separate objects. 
While this is not an issue to consider in this simple animation, it's one that must be taken into account for 
more complex projects, for example by parenting or otherwise joining the various parts to the body to make a 
single mesh. (We'll describe all of these options in detail in later Chapters). 



Posing 

Once you have a rigged and skinned Gus you can start playing with him as if he were a doll, moving his bones 
and viewing the results. 



Mode: 



A Edit Mode 
tt Object fvlode 



T" 




Mode menu in the 3D Window header. 

• Select the armature only, then select Pose Mode from the "Mode" Menu (Mode menu in the 3D 
Window header). This option only appears if an armature is selected. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



100 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part II 



Original position 



• The armature will turn blue. You are now in Pose Mode. If you now select a bone it will turn cyan, 
not pink, and if you move it (G), or rotate it (R), the body will deform! 




You are in pose mode now ! 



Original position 

Blender remembers the original position of the bones. You can set your armature back by pressing Alt R to 
clear the rotation and Alt G to clear the location. Alternatively, the Rest Position button may be used to 
temporarily show the original position. 



Inverse Kinematics 

Inverse Kinematics (IK) is where you actually define the position of the last bone in the chain, often called an 
"End Effector". All the other bones assume a algorithmic position, automatically computed by the IK solver, 
to keep the chain without gaps (i.e. IK will mathematically solve the chain positions for us). This allows a 
much easier and precise positioning of hands and feet using IK. 



Forward Kinematics 

While handling bones in Pose Mode notice that they act as rigid, inextensible bodies with spherical joints at 
the end. You can grab only the first bone of a chain and all the others will follow it. All subsequent bones in 
the chain cannot be grabbed and moved, you can only rotate them, so that the selected bone rotates with 
respect to the previous bone in the chain while all the subsequent bones of the chain follow its rotation. 

This procedure, called Forward Kinematics (FK), is easy to follow but it makes precise location of the last 
bone in the chain difficult. 



We'll make Gus walk, using FK, by defining four different poses relative to four different stages of a stride. 
Blender will do the work of creating a fluid animation. 



F 



Pose 



I Pose Mode 



: 



J^Q-a H^V 



The current frame Num Button in the Buttons window Toolbar. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



101 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part II 



Original position 



First, verify that you are at frame 1 of the timeline. The frame number appears in a NumButton on the 
right of the Buttons Window Toolbar (The current frame Num. Button in the Buttons window 
Toolbar.). If it is not set to 1, set it to 1 now. 

Now, by rotating only one bone at a time (R), we'll raise UpLeg.L and bend LoLeg.L backwards 
while raising Arm.R a little and lowering Arm.L a little, as shown in Our first pose.. 




Our first pose. 



Insert Key 

Loc 

Rot 
Size 



LocRotSize I 
Avail I 



Storing the pose to the frame. 

• Select all bones with A. With the mouse pointer on the 3D Window, press I. A menu pops up {Storing 
the pose to the frame). Select LocRot from this menu. This will get the position and orientation of all 
bones and store them as a pose at frame 1. This pose represents Gus in the middle of his stride, while 
moving his left leg forward and above the ground. 

• Now move to frame 1 1 either by entering the number in the NumButton or by pressing UPARROW. 
Then move Gus to a different position, like {Our second pose), with his left leg forward and right leg 
backward, both slightly bent. Gus is walking in place ! 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



102 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part II 



Original position 




, [Jj] -^ Vlfw Stlaot Objaci ' 1^ Obiact Mode ;| | Q: | [^ ] r 



-|-J "■-' ViBW Seroct ObjBcl , tj. oaied Moiig ; | [gTil [4- :| '-\ 




Jtiw gBlad atjMt r^ObieEiHnile T] (^ |"4^ fffl-j^ Pfffl^ffl |i| B?T| v Wwf Sefect ObjBDl r'i>0*i|a'it"°'i° ' I f®^ F^ l^-j-j-H SoS 



Our second pose. 



Show/Hide Bones 




► 




Copy Attributes... 
Flip L/R Names 


Ctr 


C 

w 












Constraints 
inverse Kinematics 




> 






Motion Paths 




► 












Paste Flipped Pose 








Paste Pose 




Copy Current Pose | 




insert Keyframe 










1 




1 




Scaie Envelope Distance 


Alts| 




Ciear Transform 




N 




Transform 
n Transform Properties 






t I^S © Pose Mode - 


# 


il ii 


^ 


14 


^■a| • 1 - 


H 








1 



Pose menu 

• Select all bones again and press I to store this pose at frame 11. 

• We now need a third pose at frame 21, with the right leg up, because we are in the middle of the other 
half of the stride. This pose is the mirror of the one we defined at frame 1. Therefore, return to frame 

1 and, in the Pose Menu in the 3D Window header select the Copy Current Pose entry, see (Pose 
menu). You have now copied the current pose to the buffer. 

• Go to frame 21 and paste the pose with the Paste Flipped Pose option in the Pose Menu, see {Pose 
menu). This button will paste the cut pose, exchanging the positions of bones with suffix ".L" with 
those of bones with suffix ".R", effectively flipping it! 

The pose is there but it has not been stored yet! You must press I with all bones selected. 

• Now apply the same procedure to copy the pose at frame 1 1 to frame 3 1 , also flipping it. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



103 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part II 



Gus walks! 



• To complete the cycle, we need to copy the pose at frame 1 without flipping to frame 41. Do so by 
copying it as usual, and by using the Paste Pose entry. End the sequence by storing the pose with I. 



Checking the animation 

To preview your Animation, set the current frame to 1 and press ALT -A in the 3D window. 



Gus walks! 

The single step in-place is the core of a walk, and once you have defined one there are techniques to make a 
character walk along a complex path. But, for the purpose of our Quick Start, this single step in-place is 
enough. 

• Change to the Rendering Buttons (FIO) and in the Anim panel, below the PLAY button, set the start 
frame (Sta:) to 1 (it is usually set to 1 by default so you probably won't need to change it) and set the 
end frame (End:) to 40 (it is set to 250 by default) (Setting the Rendering Buttons for an animation). 
Because frame 41 is identical to frame 1, we only need to render frames from 1 to 40 to produce the 
full cycle. 




Setting the Rendering Buttons for an animation. 

• Select AVI Raw as the file type in Format Panel (Setting the Rendering Buttons for an animation.). 
While this is generally not the best choice, mainly for file size issues (as will be explained later on), it 
is fast and it will run on any machine, so it suits our needs. (You can also select AVI Jpeg to produce 
a more compact file. However, it uses lossy JPEG compression and will produce a movie that some 
external players might not be able to play). 

Finally, press the ANIM button in Anim Panel. Remember that all the layers that you want to use in the 
animation must be shown! In our case, these are layers 1 and 10. 

Stopping a Rendering 

If you make a mistake, like forgetting to turn layer 10 on, you can stop the rendering process with the ESC 
key. 

Our scene is pretty simple, and Blender will probably render each of the 40 images in a few seconds. Watch 
them as they appear. 

Stills 

Of course you can always render each of your animation frames as a still by selecting the frame you wish to 
render and pressing the RENDER button. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



104 



Your First Animation in 30 plus 30 IVIinutes Part II Gus walks! 

Once the rendering is complete you should have a file named 0001_0040.avi in a render subdirectory of your 
current directory — the one containing your .blend file. 

You can play this file directly within Blender by pressing the Play button beneath the ANIM button (Setting 
the Rendering Buttons for an animation). The animation will automatically cycle. To stop it press ESC. We 
have produced only a very basic walk cycle. There is much more in Blender, as you'll soon discover! 



Previous: Next: 

Manual/PartlAfour First Animation in 30 plus 30 Minutes Part I Manual/The Vital Functions 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 105 



Opening Files Opening Files 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Opening Files 

Mode: All Modes 
Hotkey: Fl 
Menu: File Open 



Description 



Blender uses the .blend file format to save nearly everything: Objects, Scenes, Textures, and even all your 
user interface window settings. 

Warning 

Blender expects that you know what you are doing! When you load a file, you are not asked to save unsaved 
changes to the scene you were previously working on, completing the file load dialog is regarded as being 
enough confirmation that you didn't do this by accident. Make sure that you save your files. 



Options 

To load a Blender file from disk, press Fl. The window underneath the mouse pointer then temporarily 
becomes the File Selection window as shown in {File Selection Window - loading.). The bar on the left can 
be dragged with LMB ^-^ for scrolling. To load a file, select it with LMB B and then press Enter, or click the 
Open File button. A file can also be loaded by using the MMB O over the name of the file you want. It is then 
loaded up as if you had pressed enter. 



Loading the Ul 

Inside each Blend file. Blender saves the user interface layout - the arrangement of screen layouts. By default, 
this saved UI is loaded, over-riding any user defaults or current screen layouts that you have. If you want to 
work on the blend file using your current defaults, start a fresh Blender, then open the file selector (Fl). Turn 
off the "Load UI" button, and then open the file. 



Navigating your l-lard Disl< 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 106 



Saving Files 



Saving Files 



lJHiBme/aiwan/DetKli3p/tBttZ37l 



Open FIte 



l^jj I r3))o_ao blgnd 



Cancel 







tntaM.bteml 


5^37! 






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?1Z484 






luxD.bland 


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3ll3el«ct blend 


77 272 


mandel-fi^ blend 


130 036 


area.llgiit.Dlencl 


74 1M 


tnnsili.biena 


sriB4 


limvl.blsnti 


B0B3Z 


itiirrar.lBKlurs.Weraj 


15B»6 


camera. biBnd 


55 3S2 


monkey caatieFJus. blend 


36Z 51 £ 


crystal cube blend 


17S1S4 


motionbienfler islefid 


183212 


CtrJOSJactDlenil 


39J9Z 


motnrt.Wend 


972 872 


cubespnaK.Blenij 


71 394 


only.ihiaowjaHip.blend 


73 376 


dBformtesttilend 


ISd aoQ 


Bnly ^hadDw matenal blend 


79 080 


displace blend 


tzs a:s 


oualnertest blend 


153 955 


ooipnin.biena 


275 441 


]i9iffiJunip«r.til»nd 


5B70B 


djpllverte.blsnd 


55 69* 


tadtoronrnblenrl 


133 456 


fBceselBclmede, blend 


tD1 MQ 


RaplDr blend 


67 810 


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e64Si 


R3ploi_odici_rai'_en'< blend 


30« 535 


FlocSOIBIrtis blenu 


S6 252 


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i;37 732 


giSLts. blend 


95D28 


t«iai«.wend 


504 212 


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305 915 



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I Reiabve Palfis | 



FW: aOSI 2.375 MB 



File Selection Window - loading. 

The upper text box displays the current directory path, and the lower text box contains the selected filename. 
(P) moves you up to the parent directory. The button beneath, with the up and down arrow, maintains a list of 
recently used paths and on the windows platform a list of all drives (C:, D:, etc.). The breadcrumb files (. and 
..) refer to the current directory and upper-level directory, respectively. 



Other File Open Options 

Open Recent 

Lists recently used files. Click on one to load it in. 

Recover Last Session 

If autosave is turned on, this attempts to load the last hot backup for you. If the file cannot be found, you 
might need to manually go to your temp directory and find it. 



Saving Files 

Mode: All Modes 
Hotkey: F2 
Menu: File Save 

Description 

Saving files is like loading files. When you press F2, the window underneath the mouse pointer temporarily 
changes into a File Selection Window, as shown in {File Selection Window - saving.). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



107 



Screenshots 



Screenshots 



Options 



W P I [jTiorrte/8JVi'aniUeskloprts t1£3?'if 



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luxo.l)laAd 


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ililalecl blenif 


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mandel-jUf.Wend 


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File Selection Window - saving. 

Click the lower edit box to enter a filename. If it doesn't end with ".blend," the extension is automatically 
appended. Then press Enter or click the Save File button to save the file. 

If a file with the same name already exists, you will have to confirm that you want to save the file at the 
overwrite prompt. 

Depending on the number o f save versions you have set, all existing files with the same name will be rotated 
to a .blendX file extension, where X is 1, 2, 3 etc. So, if you were working on MyWork.blend, and saved it, 
the existing MyWork.blend is renamed to MyWork.blend 1, and a new MyWork.blend is saved. This way, you 
have hot backups of old saved versions that you can open if you need to massively undo changes. 



Compress Files 



Enable File->Compress Files to squash large files, removing dead space. 



Hints 

The save dialog contains a little feature to help you to create multiple versions of your work: Pressing 
NumPad + or NumPad - increments or decrements a number contained in the filename. To simply save over 
the currently loaded file and skip the save dialog, press Ctrl W instead of F2 and just confirm at the prompt. 



Screenshots 

In order to facilitate teamwork and rapid prototyping, you might want to quickly take a picture of your 
window or entire blender window setup. 

File -> Screenshot Subwindow takes a picture of your last active window and saves it as a JPG. A window 
opens, allowing you to specify the location and name of the file. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



108 



Rendering 



Rendering 



File -> Screenshot All takes a picture of the entire Blender window. 

Rendering 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Render Context Render 

Hotkey: F12 

Menu: Render Render Current Frame 

Description 

This section will give you only a quick overview of what you'll need in order to render your scene. You'll find 
a detailed description of all options in Rendering . 



Options 

The render settings are in the Scene Context and Rendering Buttons Sub-context {Rendering options in the 
RenderingButtons.) which is reached by clicking the [HJ, or by pressing FIO. 




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In the Output panel, the top field contains the path increment (default: "/tmp/") and optionally a filename 
prefix to use when rendering. The Path Increment is either an absolute address or a relative address. An 
absolute address is something like "C:\Documents\Blender\" and a relative address is a breadcrumb notation 
("./" or "../") meaning to start with the current or parent directory of the Blender installation location, or a 
double slash ("//") meaning put the file in the directory from where the blend file was loaded. 

Invalid Paths 

If the construction of the path is illegal and rejected by the operating system, your file can end up in the 
Blender installation directory, root directory, or some other place. 

The Format Panel controls the format of the render. The full size (number of pixels horizontally and 
vertically) and file format of the image to be created are picked here. You can set the size using the SizeX and 
SizeY buttons. Clicking the selection box just below the size buttons opens a menu with all available output 
formats for images and animations, which is currently "Jpeg" in (Rendering options in the RenderingButtons). 

Now that the settings are complete, the scene may be rendered by hitting the RENDER button in the Render 
Panel or by pressing F12. Depending on the complexity of the scene, this usually takes between a few seconds 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



109 



Other File Menu Options Other File Menu Options 

and several minutes, and the progress is displayed in a separate window. If the scene contains an animation, 
only the current frame is rendered. (To render the whole animation, see Rendering Animations ). 

If you don't see anything in the rendered view, make sure your scene is constructed properly. Does it have 
lighting? Is the camera positioned correctly, and does it point in the right direction? Are all the layers you 
want to render visible? Make sure Blender Internal is chosen in the dropdown box below the RENDER 
button. 



Saving to disk 

A rendered image is not automatically saved to disk. If you are satisfied with the rendering, you may save it 
by pressing F3 and using the save dialog as described in Saving files. The image is saved in the format you 
selected previously in the Format Panel. 



Hints 

Click the Extensions button in the Scene (FIO) Render context Output panel so that Blender will add the type 
extension (i.e. ".jpg") automatically to image files! 



Setting the default scene 



If you don't like Blender's default window set-up, or want specific render settings for each project you start, 
or you want to save your Theme? No problem. You can use any scene file as a default when Blender starts up. 
Make the scene you are currently working on the default by pressing Ctrl U. The scene will then be copied 
into a file called .B .blend in your home directory. 

You can clear the working project and revert to the default scene anytime through the menu entry File»New 
or by pressing Ctrl X. But remember to save your changes to the previous scene first! 



Other File Menu Options 



Append or Link 

You don't have to load a complete file; you can load in only selected parts from another file if you 

wish. Appending and Linking is discussed here. 
Import 

Blender can use information stored in a variety of other format files which are created by other 

graphics programs. It does this by running a script to import the file . 
Export 

Normally you save your work in a .blend file, but you can export some or all of your work to a format 

that can be processed by other graphics programs. To do so, you run an export script. 



Previous: Manual/The Interface Contents Next: Manual/User Preferences 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 110 



User Preferences and Themes 



User Preferences and Themes 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.46 



User Preferences and Themes 



Mode: All Modes 



In Blender, you can customize your defaults, and once you are satisified, save them via File->Save user 
Defaults. If you ever want to start completely over, simply restore "factory" settings via File->Load Factory 
Settings 



Description 

Blender has a few options that are not saved with each file, but which apply to all of a user's files instead. 
These preferences primarily concern the user interface handling details, system properties like mouse, fonts, 
and languages. 

As the user preferences are rarely needed, they are neatly hidden behind the main menu. To make them 
visible, pull down the window border of the menu (usually the topmost border in the screen). The settings are 
grouped into seven categories which can be selected with the violet buttons shown in {User preferences 
window). 



Options 



Because most buttons are self-explanatory, or display a helpful tool-tip if you hold the mouse still over them, 
we won't describe them in detail here. Instead, we will just give you an overview of the preference categories 
and some suggestions. 



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111 



User Preferences and Themes 



View & Controls 



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Pull down the User Preference Window to reveal many customization options. Each section of User 
Preferences Window displayed in default state. 



View & Controls 

Settings concerning how the user interface should react to user input, such as which method of 
rotation should be used in 3D views. Here you can also activate 3-button mouse emulation if you 
have a two-button mouse. MMB '-' can then be input as Alt LMB B. 

In particular, I just want to call out the Smooth View setting used in transitioning your 3D window from one 
view to another (e.g. from Top view to Side view). A higher value (e.g. 1000) smooths the transition from 
view to view, instead of jumping. A very nice effect found in other packages, and is pleasing on the eye. 



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112 



User Preferences and Themes Edit Methods 

Edit Methods 

Lets you specify the details for the workings of certain editing commands like duplicate. You can also 
change the amount of undo steps and whether the undo should work globally or locally. For more 
information on Undo and Redo. cUck here. 

Add New Objects: 

Enable Switch to Edit Mode if you want the Blender to automatically go into edit mode when you add 
an object. 

Enable Aligned to View when new objects are added, and they will be automatically rotated to face 
the view you are in. Otherwise, they will be global axis-aligned. 

Auto key framing for animation is also controlled from here. 

• Automatic Keyframing Options 

♦ Auto- Keying Enabled Automatically sets keys after a transformation of either objects or 
bones, removing the need to use the I key. 

Add/Replace Keys The default behavior. It Adds new keys on transformation, and, if 
a key already existed on the Ipo on that frame, the key is replaced with the new one. 

Replace Keys Will not add new keys to Ipos. This option will only replace existing 
keys. 

♦ Other Automatic Keyframing toggles 

Available Only adds keyframes to existing Ipo curves. For example, with this 
enabled, translation and rotation can be set in the 3D view, but only a translation key 
will be created if there exists only a translation Ipo, but no rotation Ipo. 

Needed The default behavior for autokeying is to create a key anytime a 
transformation occurs, in all available channels. With the Needed option, values that 
do not change between the previous and next keys do not receive new keys. In other 
words, if you move an object along the Y axis only, new keys will not be set for the 
X or Z axes as their value does not change. 

Use Visual Keying Uses the Visual Keying method for objects and bones that have 
certain Constraints that can affect the key values. For example, setting a key on an 
object with a Copy Location constraint would normally set the key for it's 
unconstrained location. Enabling this option causes the key to be set for the 
constrained location. 



Language & Fonts 

International Fonts, when enabled, allow you to use English fonts as well as foreign fonts such as 
Kanji and Pharsi as the labels for Blender's buttons. When enabled, you must Select Font which will 
load the font file. Optionally, you can change the default font size in picas. Blender's default is a nice, 
clean sans-serif font, but you can use anything you want, even Wingdings! 

Along with International Fonts, you can choose your native language (English by default), and whether 
Tooltips, Buttons and Toolbox text should be displayed in that language. Use Textured Fonts for better 
display of characters. 



Themes 

Blender allows the utilization of Themes to define custom interface colors and icons. You can manage themes 
from here, and two are built-in: Default and Rounded. Many others are available from the Internet, such as 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 113 



User Preferences and Themes Themes 

Dark Alpha and GONX. Each theme is a python script, usually ending in *_theme.py. You can import other 
people's themes by simply copying their .python script into your Blender/Scripts directory and restarting 
Blender. Once Blender has restarted, switch to the script window, click "scripts" and choose "themes", then 
you can select each theme that is there one at a time. Close Blender. When you restart Blender, you will see 
your themes listed under user preferences -> themes. Finally, press Ctrl U to save it as your default. 

To preserve your current theme when opening a new file, disable the Load UI button. 



Customizing Tlieme 

Click on a custom theme from the selection box, or Add a copy of the default. When you do, many more 
columns of buttons will be shown. The second column of buttons, in order: 

Name of the theme. Click into the field and change what is there) 

Section of the theme to change, mostly organized by window type, and has the tool tip "Specify 

theme for...". (3D View is the default choice) 

Element within that part to customize (Background is the default choice) 

The next column over shows the current color for that element. Change it using the RGB sliders, or clicking 
on the color swatch and using the eyedropper. 



Creating / Saving a Tlieme 

File -> Export ->Save Current Theme 

Customizing Icons 

Blender uses LOTS of icons to represent functions; clicking an icon invokes that function. You can change 
many icons to suit your preference. 

DefauU 

All images in this wiki have been screenshot using the Default icon and theme, so that it all looks consistent 
and less confusing. If you are looking at a private tutorial, or a forum sceenshot, keep in mind they might 
have changed all the colors and icons, and you will have to match up based on icon placement. 

To use custom icons within Blender, first create an icon file. It is a graphical image, created as a Blender 
Render or your favorite graphical image manipulation program as a 14x22 pixel image. Create a directory 
"icons" inside the ".blender" directory in Your Blender's installation. Copy the icon file set there. 

In Blender, enter the "Themes" area in the "User preferences" window. Click on a custom theme, or Add a 
copy of the default. When you do, many more columns of buttons will be shown as described above. In the 
second column, the top field allows you to change the theme name. The button below it allows you to select 
what part of the theme to change and has the tool tip "Specify theme for...". Select 'UI and Buttons' from the 
drop down selection that reads '3D View'. After you did this you can select 'Icon File' from the drop down 
selection that's named 'Outline' (the Element to change within that . A new selection next to 'UI and Buttons' 
will appear and you can select your icon set there. Now You can browse icons that are in mentioned in the 
"icons" directory and use your favourite ones! 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 114 



User Preferences and Themes Auto Save 

Auto Save 

The creative process is very involving, and the artist often gets so deep into modeling and animation that he or 
she often forgets to bathe, eat, and especially save copies of their work. A computer crash, power outage, or 
simply taking a bad fork in the creative path can result in lost work or corruption of the desired product. Have 
no fear of immersing yourself, because Blender provides several ways to automatically save backup copies of 
work in progress. This sub-panel allows you to configure the two ways that Blender allows you to regress to a 
prior file version. 

Save Versions 

The "Save Versions" button tells Blender, when you manually select File/Save, to save the specified 
number of previous versions of your file. In your current working directory, these files will be named 
.blend, .blendl, .blend2, etc. on up to the number of versions you specify, with the older files named 
with a higher number. Typically, 9 versions are more than sufficient. 

Auto Save Temp Files 

Clicking the "Auto Save Temp Files" button tells Blender to automatically save a hot backup copy of 
your work-in-progress to the temp directory. Selecting this button reveals two more buttons. The 
first, "Minutes" button specifies the number of minutes between automatic saves. The second "Open 
Recent" button allows you to open the most-recent auto-save file. The auto-save file is named using 
a random number, has a .blend extension, and is placed in the Temp directory (refer to the "File 
Paths" tab). We recommend that you use these buttons to autosave into your temp folder filepath, and 
set how many minutes go between automatic saves (5 to 10 minutes is sufficient). 

Then, when you have done something terrible to your beautiful model, you have four choices: 1) keep 
working forward and try to cover up or build on your accident, 2) undo with Ctrl Z, 3) regress to 
(open) a previously saved version in your working directory, or 4) regress to the prior auto-saved 
version (which is where the next button comes in). To regress to the last auto-save version, simply 
click the "Open Recent") button and the most recently saved work-in-progress version from the 
Temp directory will be loaded. 

Warning 

Clicking the "Open Recent" button will immediately load the most recent save, and you will lose any changes 
that you have made in the intervening minutes. 

Upon loading the Temp version, you may File/Save it over the current file in your work directory as a 
normal .blend file. 

Exit No Save 

When you close Blender and exit the program. Blender does not prompt you to save your work if changed. 
However, it automatically saves the current work-in-progress in a file called "quit.blend" in your Temp 
directory. If you realize that you have forgotten to save before exiting Blender, simply manually navigate to 
the Temp directory and open the "quit.blend" file, and save it over your work file. 

Recent Files 

When you use File -> Open Recent, this control specifies how many recent files to keep track of, and 
how many will appear in that list. 

Save Preview Images 
TBD. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 115 



User Preferences and Themes System & OpenGL 

System & OpenGL 

Solid OpenGL lights 

When working in solid view, you can "light" the objects in your workspace with up to three light 
sources. The direction of each source is set by dragging inside the light sphere, and the colors of the 
diffuse and specular shading is set by clicking on the color swatch and using the popup color picker 

Auto Run Python Scripts 

When enabled, selecting a script from any menu runs that script. However, Python is a powerful 
language and If you suspect a virus or get a blend file from an untrustworthy source, disable this prior 
to opening the blend file to prevent the script from running. 

Win Codecs 

Codecs are routines that encode and decode video streams. Enable this to use any codec found in your 
system. Some codecs can mis-behave, and can falsely assert themselves. If you have one of these 
pontificating codecs on your system, disable this. 

Color range for weight paint 

When weight painting, by default we use a colorful band of color to represent weights ranging from 
0.0 to 1.0. If you want to use a different set of colors to represent the range of values when weight 
painting, click ColorBand and use the colorband control to set the colors that correspond to the range. 

Audio Mixing Bujfer 

When mixing audio or using audio in the game engine, this allows you to set aside memory for sound. 

Verse 

Verse allows multiple users to work on the same blend file. Enter the URL of the Master and your 
username here. Then use the File->Verse menu to get connected to your buddies. 

Keyboard 

if you don't have a numerical keypad and want to emulate it (for laptops), if your fat fingers keep 
pressing the darn caps lock instead of the tab key, disable it. 

System 

Prefetch allows Blender to get anticipated frames into memory, allowing you work smoother. If you 
are using the Video Sequence Editor a lot, you might want to increase your MEM Cache Limit. If you 
are rendering frames on request as a slave, enter the port number to listen for requests on. 

OpenGL 

Allow you to fine-tune how OpenGL displays textures and functions on your system. 



File Paths 

Choose the default paths for various file load dialogs. Remember that the // at the beginning of a pathspec 
means "where the .blend file is currently saved". "/" at the beginning means the top directory of the currently 
active drive. 

Relative Paths Default 

This button is at the top right of the panel. If you enable this button, the internal path to any ancillary 
file, such as an image texture, will be saved, not as an absolute path starting with the drive letter, but 
as a pathspec to the file starting with the location of the .blend file. This enables you to zip and move 
entire projects from one PC to another, and all ancillary files will be found, even if on PC A you save 
the .blend on drive C: and on PC B you save the .blend on drive D:. Use this feature if you think you 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 116 



User Preferences and Themes Saving your Preferences 

will have to be sharing or working on the project across multiple machines. 
YF export 

Blender communicates with YafRay by exporting an XML file. This entry tells Blender where to save 

it. Suggestion: C:\tmp\ 
Fonts 

Where to find TrueType Fonts. Suggestion: C:\Windows\Fonts\ 
Render 

Where to put rendered output. Suggestion: //renderX 
Textures 

Where to find pictures and images for texturing surfaces. Suggest: C:\Blender\lib\tex where lib is 

your local library. As an alternative, you can use a local copy of the textures relative to your project. 

This is handy if you are going to be moving the .blend file from machine to machine and want to pack 

the textures. In this case, you would want to enter //textures\ to mimic the folder that is created when 

you unpack textures using the write files to current directory option. 
Python 

Blender's customization scripting language and functionality extensions. If left blank, Blender uses 

the distributed scripts which are located in your install directory under Blender\blender\scripts 

directory. Suggestion: C:\Blender\scripts. The Python pathspec should NOT end in a slash; this is an 

exception. If you use a local library /repository of scripts, you should remember to refresh it with the 

latest distributed scripts when you upgrade Blender. 
Tex Plugins 

Plugin DLL's to augment texturing. Suggest: C:\Blender\bin\plugins\texture\ 
Sounds 

wave files for soundtracks and sound effects. Suggest: C:\Blender\lib\wav\ 
Seq Plugins 

When using the Video Sequence Editor within Blender, Blender has a host of nifty effects that can be 

augmented by DLLs. Suggest: C:\Blender\bin\Plugins\sequence\ 
Temp 

The generic trash can, where your exist session save file is saved (quit.blend) as well as autosave files. 

Suggest: C:\tmp 

You can manually enter a path, or LMB B click the little file folder icon to the right of the field to use 
Blender's file browser to navigate you hard drive/network. Doing this is recommended in order to avoid 
typo's. The folder searcher puts in the pathspec ending in a slash. 

If any folder name changes, or the folder is moved or deleted, you will have to come back here and change 
them again, since Blender has no way of being informed of those changes. 



Saving your Preferences 

When you press Ctrl U, you will save a file called .B.blend in the .blender folder underneath your Blender 
installation that contains the present setup, including all screens and scenes. Please note that because of its 
weird filename, Windows OS's may try to hide it from you. Also, it might be saved in an Application Data 
directory specific to your User Profile. If it is not saving your changes, be sure you have security rights set to 
allow changes to files in the folder; this is especially the case with Microsoft Vista OS, as it defmately does 
not by default allow any program to change any file in the Program Files directory. 

In any event, it is a plain old .blend file; so if you have objects etc in your file when you Ctrl U, those will 
also be the default the next time you start. 

If the file is lost or accidentally deleted. Blender will re-create it on the next startup. 



Previous: Manual/The Vital Functions Contents Next: Manual/Undo and Redo 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 117 



Undo 



Undo 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.44 



Description 



Blender has many options and features to make sure that you do not lose your work. First, it saves your 
actions in a list. At any time, you can tell Blender to back up in the list and undo most recent changes. Second, 
when you start Blender, one of the File options is to Recover Last Session. When you exit Blender, it saves 
the current file in a quit.blend file; Recover Last Session merely loads that file back in. Third, you can tell 
Blender via User Preferences to automatically save versions "behind the scenes", and to keep old copies of 
your entire files every time you do manual saves. 



Getting Started 



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your User Preferences window and click Edit Methods. In that panel, you may set: 

• Steps: This numeric slider sets how many steps, or actions, to save. If you set this to 30, you will be 
able to undo the last 30 actions that you performed. 

• Global Undo: This enables Blender to save actions outside of some mesh editing actions, for example, 
moving individual vertices while a mesh is in one editing session; each vertex move can be undone. 



Undo 

Mode: All Modes 

Hotkey: Ctrl Z 

When you have done something terrible to your beautiful model, you have the following choices: 

1 . keep working forward and try to cover up or build on your accident, 

2. Undo (via Ctrl Z), 

3. Revert to (open) a previously saved version in your working directory, or 

4. Regress to the prior auto-saved version (if you have AutoSave turned on) 

To regress to the last auto-save version, simply move your cursor toward the top of your screen until it hovers 
over the boundary of the User Preferences header and changes to an Up-Down arrow. Click and drag that 
header down to reveal the User Preferences window. Click the AutoSave tab, and click the "Open Recent" 
button. Immediately, the most recently saved work-in-progress version from the Temp directory will be 
loaded. 



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118 



History History 

Warning 

Clicking the "Open Recent" button will immediatly load the most recent save, and you will lose any changes 
that you have made in the intervening minutes. 

Upon loading the AutoSaved version, you may File/Save it over the current file in your work directory as a 
normal .blend file. 

If you have versioning turned on (again specified in the User Preferences - AutoSave tab), each time you 
File->Save your .blend file. Blender pushes down the previous save to a .blend 1 file, and the .blend 1 to a 
.blend2 file, and so on up to the max number of versions that you have specified. To revert to one of those 
files, simply File->Open and select one of those .blendx files. Then File->Save it to bring it to the top of the 
stack. 



Redo 

Mode: All Modes 

Hotkey: Shift Ctrl Z or Ctrl Y 

Just as Ctrl Z undoes an action. Shift Ctrl Z re-does the last undone action(s). 

History 

Mode: All Modes 

Hotkey: AU U 

Alt U displays the Global History of what you have done as a list of actions named generally for what you did. 
Clicking on any action reverts you back to that state just before the next action was performed. 



Previous: Manual/The Vital Functions Contents Next: Manual/Librarv and Data System 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 119 



Users (Sharing) Users (Sharing) 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 



Overview 

Each .blend file contains a database. This database contains all scenes, objects, meshes, textures, etc. that are 
in the file. A file can contain multiple scenes and each scene can contain multiple objects. Objects can contain 
multiple materials which can contain many textures. It is also possible to create links between different 
objects. 

Mode: All Modes, Any Window 

Hotkey: Shift F4 - Datablock Browser 

To access the database, press Shift F4 and the window will change to an Datablock browser window, which 
lists the Objects in your .blend file. To go up a level, click the breadcrumbs (..) and then you will see the 
overall structure of a file: Action, Armature, Bmsh, Camera, Curve, Group, ... and so on (including Objects). 

LMB tl Selecting any datablock type, Mesh, for example, will give you a listing of the Meshes used in the 
file, along with how many users there are for that class. For example, if you had a car mesh, and used that car 
mesh for six cars in a parking lot scene, the Mesh listing would show the Car and then the number 6. 

Mode: Data Select Browser 

Hotkey: F - Fake User 

RMB '^ Selecting certain kinds of datablocks (Materials, Images, Textures...) and pressing F will assign a 
Fake user to those datablocks. With a fake user in place. Blender will keep those datablocks in the file, even if 
they have no 'real' users. Datablocks without a user, real or fake, are not saved in the .blend file. Pressing F 
again toggles the Fake-user assignment. Performing this action is the same as clicking the F button next to 
Material names. Image names, etc. 



Outliner and OOPS Schematic 

You can easily inspect the contents of your file by using the Outliner window. This window displays the 
Blender data system. ( Fully documented here. ) This window offers two views of the database. The Outline 
view allows you to do simple operations on the objects. These operations include selecting, renaming, 
deleting and linking. The OOPS (Object-Oriented Programming System) Schematic view allows you to 
easily see how datablocks are linked. You can filter the view by using buttons found in the header. 



Users (Sharing) 



Many datablocks can be shared among other datablocks; re-use is encouraged. For example, suppose you 
have a material for one object, named "Glossy". You can select a second object, for example, one that does 
not have a material yet. Instead of clicking ADD NEW for the material, click the little up-down arrow next to 
the ADD NEW, which brings up a list of existing materials. Select "Glossy". Now, these two objects share the 
same Material. You will notice a "2" next to the name of the material, indicating that there are two users (the 
two objects) for this material. Other common examples include: 

Sharing textures among materials 
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Pack and Unpack Data Pack and Unpack Data 

Sharing meshes between objects ("clones") 

Sharing IPO curves between objects, for example to make all the lights dim together. 



Fake User 

Blender removes all datablocks that have not been linked to anything when you open the file. Because of this, 
sometimes you may find it useful to link unlinked datablocks to a "fake user". You can do this by hitting the F 
button next to the name of the datablock. 



Copying and Linking Objects Between Scenes 

Sometimes you may want to link or copy objects between scenes. This is possible by first selecting objects 
you want to link or copy and then using the "Make Links" and "Make Single User" items found in Object 
menu in the 3D viewport header. Use "Make Links" to make links between scenes. To make a plain copy, you 
first make a link and then use "Make Single User" to make a stand-alone copy of the object in your current 
scene. Further information on working with Scenes can be found here. 



Appending or Linking Across Files 

The content of one .blend file is easily accessed and put into your current file by using the File Append 
function (accessed at any time by Shift Fl). To find out more about how to copy or link objects across .blend 
files, click here. 



Proxy Objects 



Proxy Objects allow you to make (parts of) Linked data local. For example, this allows an animator to make a 
local 'copy' of the handler bones of a character, without having the actual rig duplicated. This is especially 
useful for character animation setups, where you want the entire character to be loaded from an external 
library, but still permit the animator to work with Poses and Actions. Another example: you can have a 
modeler working on the shape (mesh) of a car and another painter work on the materials for that car. The 
painter cannot alter the shape of the car, but can start working with color schemes for the car. Updates made to 
the shape of the car are applied automatically to the painter's proxy. 



See also this for more useful information about the database system. 



Pack and Unpack Data 



Blender has the ability to encapsulate (incorporate) various kinds of data within the .blend file that is normally 
saved outside of the .blend file. For example, an image texture that is an external .JPG file can be put "inside" 
the .blend file via File Pack Data. When the .blend file is saved, a copy of that .JPG file is put inside the 
.blend file. The .blend file can then be copied or emailed anywhere, and the image texture moves with it. 

You know that an image texture is packed because you will see a little Christmas present gift box displayed in 
the header. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 121 



Pack and Unpack Data Unpack Data 

Unpack Data 

When you have received a packed file, you can File UnPack Data. You will be presented with the option to 
create the original directory structure or put the file in the // (directory where the .blend file is). Use "original 
locations" if you will be modifying the textures and re-packing and exchanging .blend files, so that when you 
send it back and the originator unpacks, their copy of the textures will be updated. 



Previous: Manual/Undo and Redo Contents Next: Manual/Help 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 122 



Help Topics 



Help Topics 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.44 

Blender has an interesting mix of built-in, loadable, and web-based help, all accessed with Blender. All of 
the help is accessed through the Help menu at the top of the page in the User Preferences window header. Of 
course, any web-pages can be saved to your local hard disk or printed using your web browser for off-Une 
viewing. We use web-based help so that we can bring you the latest up-to-date help. 



^ Blender [C:\BlendeiNplay\.CurveNoMinus.blend] 



^ File Add Timeline Game Render 



; SR:8-Nodes 



; SCE:Scer 




About Blender... 

& Blender/Python Scripting API 
lb Getting Started 

ft HotKey and MouseAction Reference 
fe ID Property Browser 



?':i'Manual 



A raniJom material generator for materials with proc^ 
variations of existing ones. It's also a fun way to e>; 

There is an issue with the material preview that ma i 
to split the Buttons window in two and have one of i 
hit F6 and everything will randomize and update c 



I Python Scripting Reference 
p Release Notes 
f Scripts Help Browser 
p Tutorials 

Websites 

System 



Enabling Help 



Some forms of help start up your web browser and access the Blender Foundation's web servers. In order to 
do this, you must configure, with your operating system, a web browser as a default. If you have a dial-up 
connection, you must configure the web browser to automatically dial out when it starts if there is no active 
internet connection available. 



About Blender 



Displays the splash screen image, identifying the package and version. 



Help Topics 



Blender/Python Scripting API 

Web-based help pages describing the application programming interface (API) that Blender exposes to 
Python. Python is a general programming language that can do many things on its own. In order for it to do 
things inside Blender, it has to access Blender functions, like creating objects, moving them, etc. Python does 
this by calling on specific Blender API calls, like ob.setLocation to change an object's location. 



Getting Started 

Web-based help pages listing specific links to official sites maintained with fool-proof, easy tutorials that 
can help you get started and comfortable using Blender. 



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123 



Help Topics HotKey and MouseAction Reference 

HotKey and MouseAction Reference 

Internal There's an old adage among Blender users: 

"One hand on the mouse, the other on the keyboard." 

Blender makes extensive use of hotkeys to allow you to quickly perform common actions, like R to Rotate the 
selected object. This internal page tells you what all those keys do, separated into Arrows, Letters, Mouse 
actions. Numbers, etc. It has a Search Function, so if you vaguely know the term for what you want to do, you 
can search for the hotkey to find out how to do it. 

ID Property Browser 

Internal For all the various kinds of objects in your .blend file, this screen allows you to find them (starting at 
the Scene level) and drill down to inspect their properties. 

Manual 

Web-based Brings you to the main table of contents page of the wiki. 

Python Scripting Reference 

same as Blender/Python Scripting API 

Release Notes 

Web-based A page listing all the Release Notes, telling you what has changed and new features added to 
Blender, back several versions. The release notes provide you with a quick explanation of "what's new", 
frequently along with examples and demonstrations and movies/images. 



Scripts Help Browser 



Internal This window allows you to choose a script (from your \scripts directory) by category, and shows you 
the help information embedded within the script. Use this to find out more about what these custom Python 
scripts do, and how to use them. 



Tutorials 

'Web-based Lists simple, step-by-step tutorials that can provide you with easy-to-follow directions on how 
to use Blender. Please also visit the wiki Tutorials page . 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 124 



System System 

Websites 

Web-based Lists frequently accessed websites related to Blender and its development. 

System 

With a 3D View window active, clicking Benchmark enables you to benchmark three different actions in 
Blender. The resulting statistics, particularly the 'operations per second (ops/s) is useful for comparing the 
performance of Blender across different machines. For a more robust benchmark, refer to the [official 
Benchmark site.1 

System Information creates an info.txt file which lists various key properties of your system and Blender, 
useful in diagnosing problems. 



,' ., J _ „ Contents Next: Manual/Interaction in 3D 

Manual/Library and Data System 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 125 



Description Description 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Description 

Using Blender, you create a world that exists in four dimensions: 

1 . left-right, commonly called the x axis 

2. forward-backward, commonly called the y axis 

3. up-down, commonly called the z axis 

4. time-sensitive, through animated objects, materials, and motion captured in frames 

The problem is, you have a two-dimensional computer screen in front of you! Your mouse can only move 
left-right and up-down. You cannot go back in time, and you can't literally reach out into the screen and grab 
an object and move it somewhere else (although I did see a scary movie once where the guy reached through a 
mirror, but that's another story). 

Instead, you have to tell Blender to do it for you. This section tells you how to navigate around in your virtual 
world using the unique Blender interface. 



Previous: Manual/Help Contents Next: Manual/Navigating in 3D Space 



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Rotating the View 



Rotating the View 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Navigating in 3D Space 

Mode: All Modes 



Description 

Blender lets you work in three-dimensional space, but our monitor screens are only two-dimensional. To be 
able to work in three dimensions, you must be able to change your viewpoint as well as the viewing direction 
of the scene. This is possible in all of the 3D Viewports. While we will describe the 3D Viewport Window, 
most other windows use an equivalent series of functions. For example, it is possible to translate and zoom a 
Buttons Window and its Panels. 

Mouse Buttons and Numpad: If you have a mouse with less than three buttons or a keyboard without 
numpad, please refer to the Keyboard and Mouse page of the manual to learn how to use Blender with them. 



Rotating the View 



Mode: All Modes 

Hotkey: MMB ^^ / NumPad 2 / NumPad 4 / NumPad 6 / NumPad 8 

Menu: View View Navigation 

Description 

Blender provides four default viewing directions: Side, Front, Top and Camera view. Blender uses a 
right-angled "Cartesian" coordinate system with the Z axis pointing upwards, "side" corresponds to looking 
along the X axis, in the negative direction; "front" along the Y axis; and "top" along the Z axis; The Camera 
view shows the current scene as seen from the Camera view point. 



Options 



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29/01/2009 13.49.52 



127 



Rotating the View Options 



A 3D Viewport's view menu. 

You can select the viewing direction for a 3D Viewport with the View Menu entries (A 3D Viewport's view 
menu.) or by pressing the hotkeys NumPad 3 for "side", NumPad 1 for "front", NumPad 7 for "top". You can 
select the opposite directions if you hold Ctrl while using the same numpad shortcuts. Finally NumPad gives 
access to the "Camera" viewpoint. 

Hotkeys 

Remember that most hotkeys affect the window that has focus, so check that the mouse cursor is in the area 
you want to work in before your use the hotkeys ! 



Apart from these four default directions, the view can be rotated to any angle you wish. Click and drag MMB 
t-! on the Viewport's area: If you start in the middle of the window and move up and down or left and right, the 
view is rotated around the middle of the window. Alternatively, you can press and hold Alt while dragging 
LMB -^ in the Viewport's area. 

To change the viewing angle in discrete steps, use NumPad 8 and NumPad 2 (which correspond to vertical 
MMB '- dragging, from any viewpoint), or use NumPad 4 and NumPad 6 to rotate the scene on the XY plane 
only. 



TrackBall/Turntable 

By default, when you rotate the view as described in The viewing direction (rotating) section, you are rotating 
the scene as though you are rolling your hand across a "Trackball". For some users this is intuitive and for 
others it is not. If you feel you are having difficulties with this style of 3D window rotation you can switch to 
the "Turntable " style. 

The "Turntable" style is fasioned more like a record player where you have two axes of rotation available 
and the world seems to have a better definition of what is "Up" and "Down" in the world. The downside to 
using the "Turntable" style is that you lose some flexibility when working with your objects. However, you 
gain the sense of "Up" and "Down" which can help if you are feeling disoriented. Of course you can always 
switch between the styles depending on what you are working on. 




View rotation 

To change the rotation "Style" use the User Preferences Window : remember to pull the main window down 
because only the header shows by default. Click on the "View & Control" button to reveal a page of buttons 
relating to Views and Control functionality. You will see an area for choosing the "View rotation:", see {View 
rotation). There are two additional buttons for controlling the display in the 3D window. "Auto Perspective" 
will automatically switch to Perspective whenever the view is rotated using MMB *. "Around Selection" will 
rotate the view around the center of the current selection. If there is no selection at that moment (ex. if you 
used A to deselect everything) the last selection will be used anyway. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 128 



Zooming the View Zooming the View 

Panning the View 

Mode: All Modes 



Hotkey: Shift MMB / Shift NumPad 2 / Shift NumPad 4 / Shift NumPad 6 / Shift NumPad 8 / Shift Alt 

LMB f-1 

Menu: View View Navigation 

Description 

To pan the view, hold down Shift and drag MMB '- in the 3D Viewport. For discrete steps, use the hotkeys 
Ctrl NumPad 8, Ctrl NumPad 2, Ctrl NumPad 4 and Ctrl NumPad 6 as with rotating. For those without a 
middle mouse button, you can hold Shift Alt while dragging with LMB ^ . 



iii 



liddle Mouse Button: 



Rotate View 



MMB default behavior 

The behavior of the MMB '^ can be customized, in the Preference window. View & Control tab, so it will pan 
by default and Shift MMB '^ will rotate the view. 

Zooming the View 

Mode: All Modes 

Hotkey: Ctrl MMB ^ I MW ^ / NumPad + / NumPad - / Ctrl Alt LMB E 

Menu: View View Navigation 



Description 

You can zoom in and out by holding down Ctrl and dragging MMB ^. The hotkeys are NumPad + and 
NumPad -. The View»Viewport Navigation sub-menu holds these functions too; see (A 3D Viewport's view 
menu). 

If you have a wheel mouse, you can perform all of the actions that you would do with NumPad + and 
NumPad - by rotating the wheel ( MW 0). Since the Buttons window has so many panels, rotating the mouse 
wheel pans the window left and right in horizontal view. This allows you to pan to the panel you need in a 
narrow or smaller display, or if the window is narrow. As an alternative, you can easily display the Buttons 
window vertically; the panels will be arranged top to bottom. 

If you have neither a wheel mouse nor a middle mouse button, you can easily zoom in and out with Ctrl Alt 
LMB tl. 

If You Get Lost... 

If you get lost in 3D space, which is not uncommon, two hotkeys will help you: HOME changes the view so 
that you can see all objects (View»Frame All Menu entry,) while NumPad . zooms the view to the currently 
selected objects (View»Frame Selected Menu entry) 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 129 



Zooming the View Zooming the View 



Previous: Manual/Interaction in 3D Contents Next: Manual/Using the 3D View 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 130 



Perspective and Orthographic Projection 



Perspective and Orthographic Projection 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Perspective and Orthographic Projection 

Mode: All Modes 

Hotkey: NumPad 5 

Menu: View Perspective/Orthographic 



Description 

Each 3D Viewport supports two different types of projection. These are demonstrated in (Orthographic (left) 
and perspective (right) projection.): 




Orthographic (left) and perspective (right) projection. 

Our eye is used to perspective viewing because distant objects appear smaller. Orthographic projection often 
seems a bit odd at first, because objects stay the same size independent of their distance; It is like viewing the 
scene from an infinitely distant point. Nevertheless, orthographic viewing is very useful (it is the default in 
Blender and most other 3D applications), because it provides a more "technical" insight into the scene, 
making it easier to draw and judge proportions. 



Options 

To change the projection for a 3D Viewport, choose the View»Orthographic or the View»Perspective 
Menu entry (A 3D Viewport's view menu.). The hotkey NumPad 5 toggles between the two modes. 

Camera projection 

Changing the projection for a 3D Viewport does not affect the way the scene will be rendered. Rendering is 
in perspective by default. If you need to create an Orthographic rendering, select the camera and press Ortho 
in the EditButtons (F9) Camera Panel. 

The View»Camera Menu entry sets the 3D Viewport to camera mode (Hotkey: NumPad 0). The scene is 
then displayed as it will be rendered later (see Demonstration of camera view.): the rendered image will 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



131 



View Shading 



View Shading 



contain everything within the outer dotted line. Zooming in and out is possible in this view, but to change the 
viewpoint, you have to move or rotate the camera. 




Demonstration of camera view. 



Technical Details 



Perspective definition 

A Perspective view is geometrically constructed this way: you have a scene in 3D and you are an observer 
placed at a point O. The 2D perspective scene is built by placing a plane, a sheet of paper where the 2D scene 
is to be drawn in front of point O, perpendicular to the viewing direction. For each point P in the 3D scene a 
hne is drawn, passing from O and P. The intersection point S between this line and the plane is the perspective 
projection of that point. By projecting all points P of the scene you get a perspective view. 



Ortliograpliic definition 

In an orthographic projection, also called "orthonormal", you have a viewing direction but not a viewing point 
O. The line is then drawn through point P so that it is parallel to the viewing direction. The intersections S 
between the line and the plane is the orthographic projection. And by projecting all point P of the scene you 
get the orthographic view. 



View Shading 



Mode: All Modes 



Hotkey: Z / Shift Z / Alt Z / D 



Description 

Depending on the speed of your computer, the complexity of your Scene, and the type of work you are 
currently doing, you can switch between several drawing modes: 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



132 



Local View Local View 




Draw type: 

^ Textured 
■^ Shaded 
Solid 
Wireframe 
Bounding Box 



Object Mode '| \^-\ |ffl ■|<^n'&|GI°fa< 

A 3D Viewport's draw mode button. 

• Textured Alt Z 

Displays UV image textured models with OpenGL lighting. Procedural textures will not be shown. 

• Shaded Shift Z 

Approximates all textures and lighting at each vertex, and blends from one to the next. Much less 
accurate than using the render engine to check textures, but much faster. Note that if you have no 
lighting in your scene, everything will remain black. 

• Solid Z or Alt Z 

Surfaces are drawn as solid colours, with built-in OpenGL lighting (not dependent on scene light 
sources) 

• Wireframe Z or Shift Z 

Objects only consist of lines that make their shapes recognizable. This is the default drawing mode. 

• Bounding Box 

Objects aren't drawn at all; instead, this mode shows only the rectangular boxes that correspond to 
each object's size and shape. 

You can also pop up a contextual menu by pressing D to select between all the draw modes 

Local View 

Mode: All Modes 

Hotkey: NumPad / 

Menu: View af Local View 



Description 

When in local view, only the selected objects are displayed, which can make editing easier in complex scenes. 
To enter local view, first select the objects you want (see Selecting objects ") and then use the View»Local 
View Menu entry; use the View»Global View Menu entry to go back to Global View. (A 3D Viewport's 
view menu.). The hotkey NumPad / toggles between Local and Global View. 



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View Clipping Border 



View Clipping Border 



View Clipping Border 

Mode: Any mode 

Hotkey: Alt B 

Menu: View Set Clipping Border 

Description 

To assist in the process of working with complex models and scenes, you can change the view clipping to 
visually isolate what you're working on. 

Using this tool you create a 3D clipping volume shaped liked a Pyramid; you could think of it as a Frustum 
with a top. You specify the base of the Pyramid by creating a 2D rectangular region. 

Examples 




Region/Volume clipping. 

{Region/Volume clipping) is an example of using the clipping tool with a cube. Start by activating the tool 
with Alt B, see "Start" in the upper left. This will generate a dashed cross-hair cursor. Click with the LMB B 
and drag out a rectangular region shown in the upper right. Now a region is defined and clipping is applied 
against that region in 3D space. Notice that part of the Cube is now invisible or clipped. Use the MMB O to 
rotate the view and you will see that only what is inside the Pyramid volume is visible. All Edge/Face tools 
still function as normal but only within the Pyramid volume. 

The gray area surrounding the volume is the Pyramid volume itself. To deactivate the clipping tool toggle it 
by applying Alt B a second time. All of 3D space will become visible once again. 



Previous: Manual/Navigating in 3D Space 



Contents 



Next: Manual/3D View Options 



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134 



3D Window Header 



3D Window Header 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

The 3D View is where you perform most of the object modeling and scene creation. Blender has a wide array 
of tools and options to support you in efficiently working with your mouse, keyboard and keypad. Your flat 
(two-dimensional) monitor is your viewport into the 3D space. 

It is also the oldest, and therefore most feature- and option-rich areas of Blender. DON'T BE 
INTIMIDATED. Most of us humans never use all the features here, just like we don't use all of our diction on 
a daily basis either. So, take it slow, a few at a time, experimenting to see what they do. 



3D Window Header 

The 3D View window is comprised of a workspace and a header. The header is shown at the top or bottom of 
the workspace, and can be hidden if desired. The header shows you a menu and the current mode, as 
explained below. 




View Sfllect Objicl HCObjeclMpd 



View Options 



Space Handler Scripts 


A 


1 


Play Back Animation 


Alt A 


Maximise Window 
View All 
View Selected 


Ctrl UpArrow 

Home 

NumPad . 


Set Clipping Border 


AltB 


1 


Align View 


► 


View Navigation 


> 


1 


^ Global View 
Local View 


NumPad / 
NumPad/ 


•y Orthographic 
Perspective 


NumPad 5 
NumPad 5 


1 


Cameras 
Side 


NumPad 3 


Front 


NumPad 1 


■^ Top 

Camera 


NumPad 7 
NumPad 


User 




D Background Image... 
D View Properties... 


□ Render Preview... 


Shift p| 


^^Q Select Object 


t: Object Mo 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



135 



3D Window Header 3D Window Header 

This menu provides options to control the way the workspace is viewed: 

• Space Handler Scripts - This submenu shows Space Handler Scripts : by default, there aren't any. 

• Play Back Animation - This item plays back the animation from the current frame. 

• Maximize Window - This item maximizes the 3D View Window to fill the entire Blender window, 
and once selected this menu item will change to Tile Window, if menu entry Tile Window is then 
selected the 3D View Window will be restored to it's previous size. Using the menu entry to 
Maximize/Tile has the affect of limiting it's affect to just the 3D View Window. As well as the menu 
entry, the shortcuts Ctrl and Ctrl can also act as toggles to Minimize/Tile not only the 3D View 
Window but also any window which currently has focus. In addition to the shortcut Ctrl and Ctrl , it 
is also possible to Maximize/Tile the currently focused window with shortcut Shift Space, making it 
extremely convenient for laptop users, as they can quickly Maximize/Tile the currently focused 
window to work on another window such as the Buttons Window/Outliner Window for example. 

• View All - This command zooms the 3D view to encompass all the objects in the current scene. 

• View Selected - This command zooms the 3D view to encompass all the selected objects. 

• Set Clipping Border - This command allows you to define a clipping border to limit the 3D view 
display to a portion of 3D space. For more information on this command, see View Clipping Border 
in the Using the 3D View section of the manual. 

• Align View-This submenu (shortcut C) shifts your view to be centered on the cursor. Shift-Center 
(shortcut Shift C) centers your view and zooms out so that you can see everything in your scene. You 
can also change your viewpoint to be through the camera, and center the camera on the cursor. Instead 
of the cursor, you can center your view on the selected object (shortcut keypad *) 

• View Navigation - This submenu contains commands for rotating and panning the view. Using these 
commands through the menu is not that efficient; however, like all Blender menus, the 
much-more-convenient keyboard shortcuts are listed next to the commands. Fly mode moves your 
view through 3D space. Use the keys indicated to orbit your view, or hold down MMB ^ and move 
your mouse. Use the keypad NumPad +/NumPad - keys to zoom, or scroll your mousewheel. 

• Global /Local View - Global view shows all of the 3D objects in the scene. Local view only displays 
the selected objects. To switch between global and local view use NumPad /. Accidentaly pressing 
NumPad / can happen rather often if you're new to Blender, so if a bunch of the objects in your scene 
seem to have mysteriously vanished, try turning off local view. 

• Orthographic, Perspective - These commands change the projection of the 3D view. For more 
information, see Perspective and Orthographic Projection . Generally you want to stay in Orthographic 
view. 

• Cameras - This submenu lists all the cameras in the scene. Selecting one will make it the active 
camera; there is also a command that sets the current object (which doesn't have to be a camera) as the 
camera, so you can see what the scene looks like from its point of view. 

• Side, Front, Top - These commands change the view to the default side, front, or top views. Pressing 
the Ctrl key changes to the 'other' corresponding view: Ctrl-NumPad 3 right side, Ctrl-NumPad 1 
back, or Ctrl-NumPad 7 bottom-looking-up views. 

• Camera - This command switches the view to the current camera view. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 136 



3D Window Header Select Menu 

• User - This command switches to a user view. In most cases, this won't seem to do anything, but if 
you are in the camera view or have orthographic projection on, the view will change to perspective 
(and leave the camera view, if applicable). 

• Background Image... - This command will toggle the Background Image floating panel, which 
allows you to load and pick an image to display in the background of the orthographic 3D view, as 
well as adjust its size and position. This is useful if you have a picture (for example, a face) that you 
want to model from. Each pane (3D window view) has its own background image settings. Each pane 
can or cannot use background image independently. So, you can set top view to have one image, but 
unless you set the others to use an image, no other views will use it. Side view can have another, and 
front another. They can all be the same image if the image is one big composite of all views you want 
to reference; just use the offset values in each pane to position the image where you want it. 
Background images can be stills, movies (avi or sequences) or even a render from another scene. For 
movies, enable Auto Refresh and Blender will display the appropriate frame from the movie when 
you change frames in your animation. 



<? 



Use Lo-Res Proxy: 

To improve PC performance when using background images you may have to use lower-resolution 
proxies. If your monitor resolution is 800A — 600, then the background image, full screen, without 
zooming, only needs to be 800A — 600. If your reference image is 2k x 2k, then your computer is 
grinding away throwing away pixels. Try instead to take that 2kx2k image, and scale it down (using 
Blender, or Gimp) to, for example, 512A — 512. You will have 4x the performance, with no appreciable 
loss of quality or exactness. Then, as you refine your model, you can increase the resolution. 

• View Properties... - This command toggles the View Properties floating panel, which allows you to 
toggle the grid and adjust its spacing, adjust the zoom of the camera, toggle specific axes (X, Y, and 
Z), view and change the specific location of the 3D cursor, adjust several toggles (outlining the 
selected object, showing all object centers, showing relationship lines), and, lock the 3D view so that 
it always points towards a certain object or bone. See View Properties Window for more details. 

• Render Preview... - This command toggles the Render Preview panel, which shows a (relatively) 
live preview render of whatever it is over. 

• Onion Skinning/Ghosting - Selecting Keyframe display mode (pressing K) in the IPO Window, and 
possibly then pressing K again in the 3D View (depending on your PC's OpenGL support) will 
display the keyframed locations for an object (mesh, armature, etc.) Showing the ghost past/present 
keyed postions IPO Keys is an often overlooked feature that can greatly assist animation 
visualization. The location of the object at the current frame is shown as a green line in the IPO 
Window, and as the object in the 3D View. The keyframe selected in the IPO Window is shown in 
yellow, as is the outline of the object in the 3D View, further helping you visualize the animation. All 
other ghost keyframed locations are shown as a black outline in the 3D View. Ghosting for armatures 
is more versatile and thus more complicated; see the Armatures section of the user manual for 
Armature Visualization options. 

In addition, the NumPad * key orients the view normal to the selected face and enter homes the display to fit 
everything within the view. 



Select Menu 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 137 



3D Window Header Select Menu 

Grouped ► 

Linked ► 

Select All by Type ► 

Select All by Layer ► 
Inverse 

Select/Deselect All A 

Border Select B 



Object ItlObject t 



• Grouped - Blender has a few ways of grouping items together. This submenu contains commands to 
select objects by their various groupings. 

♦ Children - This command selects all the children of the selected object(s) (as in their 
children, the children of their children, etc.) 

♦ Immediate Children - This command selects the children of the select object(s); however, 
unlike the previous command, it does not continue selecting the children of the children, just 
the direct descendants of the parent. 

♦ Parent - This command selects the parent(s) of the selected object(s). 

♦ Siblings (Shared Parent) - This command selects all the objects that shared the parent of an 
object. This means that if you have, for example, several Blender objects that make up one 
physical object that are all children of one part of the object of an empty, you can select one 
Blender object that is part of the physical object, use this command, and all the Blender 
objects that make up the physical object will be selected (if that made any sense!). 

♦ Objects of Same Type - This command selects all objects of the same type (Lamp, Mesh, 
Camera, etc.) 

♦ Objects on Shared Layers - This command selects all the objects on the same layers as the 
selected object(s). {I think.} 

♦ Objects in Same Group - This command selects all the objects in the groups that the 
selected object(s) are in. This can be used for the same purpose as Siblings (Shared Parent) 
if you have grouped parts of a physical object instead of using parents. 

♦ Objects Hooks - This command selects any objects that are acting as Hooks for the selected 
object(s). 

• Linked - This submenu contains commands that allow you to select objects based on data (Ipo 
curves. Materials, Textures, etc.) that they share. 

♦ Object Ipo - This command selects all the objects that share the Ipo curves of the selected 
object(s). 

♦ ObData - This command selects all the objects that share the ObData of the selected 
object(s). 

♦ Material - This command selects all the object(s) that share the Material(s) of the selected 
object(s). 

♦ Texture - This command selects all the object(s) that share the Texture(s) of the selected 
object(s). 

• Select All By Type - This submenu contains commands that allow you to select all the objects of a 
certain type (Mesh, Camera, Lamp, etc.) 

• Select All By Layer - This submenu contains commands that allow you to select all the objects in a 
specified layer. 

• Inverse - This command inverts the selection (selects all the deselected objects and deselects all the 
selected objects. 

• Select/Deselect All - This command deselects the current selection if there is one; if nothing is 
selected, it selects everything. 

• Border Select - This command allows you to select objects using the traditional rectangle that most 
programs use. After pressing B or selecting this menu option, click LMB ^-' and drag your mouse 
diagonally through your workspace. When you release your LMB B, all objects that were totally 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 138 



3D Window Header Object Menu 

within the box will be selected. If you instead click MMB '^ or RMB 3 and drag, all objects within 
the box will be de- selected. 



Object Menu 



Scripts 


► 




fvlove to Layer... 


M 




AitC 
Ctrl J 


Convert Object Type... 
Join Objects 


Boolean Operation... 


W 




Constraints 
Track 
Group 
Parent 






Copy 


Attributes 




Make Locai 


Make Single User 
Make Links 






X 


Delete 




Dupiic 


ate Linked 


AitD 


Dupiicate 


Shift D 




1 


Insert Keyframe 


Snap 


► 


Clear/Apply 


► 


Mirror 
Transform 


> 


D Transform Properties 


N 


ISBIHBI 


tiObject Mode ■^ 



This menu operates on objects as a whole. Many options act on the active object, based on other objects. You 
indicate that the Blender by RMB '-clicking on the base object, then Shift RMB '-' clicking on the active 
object, and then invoking the menu option. In the case of wanting to work on more than two objects, simply 
click on all the base objects first; the last object selected will be the active object. 

• Scripts: this submenu lists available python scripts written to extend blender's object handling 
capability. Of note is the Knife tool that cuts meshes. See each script's documentation for more 
information on how to use the script. 

• Move to Layer: Objects can be organized into 20 Layers, and only a few layers can be selected for 
display to avoid clutter. This option moves the selected object(s) to a layer. To do so, select one of the 
20 layers by clicking on one of the buttons in the popup window and click the OK button. If the layer 
is not selected for display, the object is removed from view. To view the objects on a layer, click the 
appropriate Layer button located to the right on the header. 

• Convert Object Type: Objects can have Modifiers which can be turned on or off; this option applies 
those modifiers permanently. 

• Join Objects: joins multiple selected objects into on single object. 

• Boolean Operation: This submenu allows you to perform discrete operations on the active object 
based on previously selected objects. Union extends the object to include all selected objects. 
Difference boolean modifies the active object by cutting away parts where they intersect. Intersect 
discards everything except where they intersect. The first operations are destructive; they can also be 
made temporary via the Modifier option. 

• Constraints: You can constrain an object based on another object, like a dog on a leash. Various 
ways to constrain the active object (based on another previously selected object) are by location, 
rotation, scale, etc. 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 139 



3D Window Header Mode List 

• Track: You can make an object face, or always point to another object by the Track option. If you 
move the base object, the active object will rotate so that it always "keeps an eye" on the base object. 

• Group: Grouping is a completely arbitrary way for you to group like things together. If you are 
making a scene of a park, you can group all the trees together if you like. 

• Parent: Use this menu to designate the active object as the parent of one or more child objects. When 
you then move the parent, the children move with it. 

• Copy Attributes: An object is in a certain place, called a location. "Location" is an attribute of the 
object. All selected objects can copy the attributes of active object using this option. 

• Make Local: If an object was linked from another scene, this makes a local copy of it for the current 
scene. 

• Make Single User: An object, like an 8-ball, can share the same mesh as another object. In this case 
the Mesh is called "billiards ball" and has 16 users (15 balls plus the cue ball). Making a local copy 
assigns a copy of the multi-user mesh to the selected object. You can then edit the local copy without 
affecting any of the other users. 

• Make Links: To Scene This is a way to proxy an object to another scene. It exists in the current 
scene, but will show up in the linked scene as well. To Object Ipo, Mesh data, etc is a way to make 
the current object join the multi-user community and share the selected item. 

• Delete: Wipes it out, man. Like totally. If its material and texture were single user and now are not 
used, they will not be saved with the .blend. 

• Duplicate Linked: Makes a copy of the object, but links their mesh as multi-user, so if you change 
one (like a table leg), all the other table legs match. 

• Duplicate: Makes a xerox copy. Well, a three-dimensional xerox copy, if there is such a thing. 

• Insert Keyframe: Records the current location, rotation, etc (whatever you select) of the object at 
that frame. Use this to set up basic animation. 

• Snap: This menu allow you to move the select object to the cursor, grid or vice versa. Very handy in 
making items share the same space 

• Clear/Apply: Clears (resets to zero) the object's scale/rotation as selected, or applies current 
rotation/scale to the object making them default. 

• Mirror: see previous section, half a monkey example. 

• Transform: Use the menu to refresh your memory of the most common hotkeys. 

• Transform Properties: Pressing N pops up a floating panel that gives you key information about the 
active object: location, rotation, scale, dimension. 



Mode List 



Mode: 


S Weight Paint 


■^ Texture Paint 


^ Vertex Paint 


^UV Face Seiect 


Sculpt Mode 


A Edit Mode 


tC Object Mode 


t 



Blender has a few modes of operation; working on objects as a whole, or in edit mode by allowing you to 
modify the shape of the object. In Sculpt mode, your cursor becomes a tool to shape the object, while your 
cursor becomes a brush in Vertex Paint . Weight Paint , or Texture Paint modes. 



Viewport Shading List 

see Manual/Using the 3D View 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 140 



3D Window Header Rotation Selector 

Rotation Selector 

Pivot: 

+ Active Object 

V Individual Centers 

■^ 3D Cursor 

ffl Median Point 

O Bounding Box Center 

|fl i|^||^11"|@|n^ 

When rotating or scaling an object or bunch of vertices/edges/faces, you may want to shift the pivot point in 
3D space. Using this selector, you can change the pivot point to the location of the cursor, the average center 
spot of the selected items (median), etc. Pivoting is fully described here. 

Use the Object Center toggle to switch between multipoint averages or last selected as the center. 



Transform (Manipulator) Selectors 



These handy selectors, also featured in other not-to-be-named CG packages, allow you to rotate or move 
objects by grabbing (clicking with your mouse) their controls and moving your mouse in the axis. Each color 
stands for an axis. 

Click on the little finger icon to enable the manipulator. Your object in 3D View will now have the 
manipulator around its center. The transform manipulator is a 3-axis arrow; the rotate manipulator are three 
circles, one for each axis; click and drag on the arc to rotate on an axis. The scale manipulator is 3-axis of 
lines that end in a block. Customize the size of the manipulators in the User Preferences. 

LMB ^- chck the buttons for a 3D Move, Rotate, or Scale Selector. Shift LMB ^^ to activate multiple 
manipulators at the same time. You can move, rotate or scale according to a Global view, or local, view, etc. 
Generally, stick with Global view until you get the hang of things. 



Layer Selector 



Layers are pretty well documented here . In particular, selecting layers to see in is covered in that section on 
Viewing layers and Moving objects between layers is also discussed on a separate Layers page. 



Render Button 

The Render button renders an OpenGL copy of the 3D view. It's pretty much exactly what you see minus the 
grid, axes, etc; it just shows the objects. It uses the same Drawmode as the 3D view, so it's rather useful if 
someone asks to see the wireframe of an object you're working on. 

Ctrl LMB ^- or Shift LMB 5? clicking the button will render an animation of the 3D View, making it useful for 
making preview renders of animations. The animation will be saved in the rendered Pics folder (Scene (FIO) 
context. Output panel, top filespec) in the format as an avi file or image sequence, depending on the format 
you have chosen (Scene (FIO) context. Format panel), for the number of frames specified in the Sta: and End: 
fields (Scene (FIO) context, Anim panel). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 141 



Using the 3D Window Using the 3D Window 

Using the 3D Window 

Description 

Your window pane is just like a window looking in on a 3D world. To help keep you oriented as to which way 
is up (Z), an XYZ axis orientation indicator is in the bottom left hand corner, along with the number of the 
frame you're working on and the name of the active object. The rest of the view, if in one of the normal 
orthogonal views (front, side or top) will show a grid. Each line in the grid is a blender unit (BU). A BU is an 
arbitrary unit of measurement. If you are modeling something from the real world, you can set (in your mind) 
a BU equal to whatever unit of measure your country and culture favor at the moment. If you are a Swiss 
CERN physisist, then perhaps Angstroms are your thing. If you are a German Engineer, then Millimeter might 
be in order. If you are an Amsterdam Space Cadet, then Astronomical Units might light up your fancy. 

In this 3D space, the active object is hightlighted in pink. Your cursor is a red-white circle with a scope 
crosshairs. LMB K clicking moves the cursor. Use the Snap button to move the cursor by some means other 
than aimlessly clicking around. 

RMB L clicking selects the object being pointed to unless it is already selected, in which case RMB 8 
clicking de-selects it, like a toggle. Shift RMB 'J button selects another object and keeps the first one(s) still 
selected, allowing you to select multiple objects (remember that the last one selected is the active one). 



Editing l\/lode 

Enter Edit mode by the mode selector, or by pressing Tab in the window. In edit mode, you select the 
components of the object, and do things to them. Strange, horrible things. Unless you're good at this stuff and 
are willing to put in a lot of practice, in which case you'll get better. Some objects, like cameras, cannot be 
edited. Press Tab again to return to the mode from whence you came. 



3D Window Toolbox (Popup l\/lenu) 

Pressing space in the 3D window pops up a very handy little menu. You can also press LMB P or RMB 8 for 
one second to do so. 



Add 

Use this option to add objects to your scene. You can get to this option by 

• clicking the Add menu item in the User Preferences header at the top of your screen, or 

• pressing space when your mouse cursor is hovering over any 3D view window 

The object, when it is added, is placed wherever your 3D cursor is, and the object is automatically placed in 
Edit mode because Blender assumes you want to start modifying it right away. To set the location of your 3D 
cursor, you can: 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 142 



Using the 3D Window 



Using the 3D Window 



3D Display: 



3D Cursor: 



:Z A;<i3 



X: 


-6.31 


V: 


-9.16 


Z: 


-1 1 .09 




View Select Object | tCObject M( 



• LMB -' click in a 3D View window, and the cursor jumps to that spot. To place the cursor in 3D 
space, you will have to click in two windows that have different perspectives; once for example in the 
top view to establish the XY location, and then again in a front view to establish the Z location, 

• Use the View ->Properties window and enter an EXACT XYZ location in the 3D Cursor fields, or 

• Select an object whose center is where you want the 3D cursor to be, and Shift Snap the Cursor -> 
Selection, and the cursor will jump to the selected object's location. Note that an object added there 
will be put inside or will have its surface mushed with the other objects (the two objects will attempt 
to occupy the same space). 

Blender supports many different primitives which can be added to your scene. If you add an object in Object 
mode, the primitive is added as a separate object to the scene. If you add an object while in Edit mode for 
another object, the primitive is added to the the other object, forming a compound object from many 
primitives: 

• Mesh - this submenu allows you to add polygonal meshes to your scene. The monkey (Suzanne) is 
quite useful for testing purposes (trying out new materials, fur, etc.) 

• Curve - this submenu allows you to add curves or paths to your scene. These are useful for modeling 
curved objects (roller coasters, legs of fancy furniture, etc) or for making curves for animated objects 
to follow. 

• Surface - this submenu allows you to add NURBS objects to your scene. 

• Meta - this submenu allows you to add meta objects to your scene. These are 
algorithmically-generated objects, and are quite useful for special effects (using two metaballs to 
animate a cell splitting in half, for example). 

• Text - this command allows you to add Text objects to your scene. 

• Empty - this command allows you to add Empties to your scene. Empties aren't rendered; rather, 
they are often used to control aspects of other objects. For example, you could use an Empty to 
control the rotation of an array modifier. Since they don't render, you can use them for all sorts of 
things such as hooks, etc. that require an object to get a location, rotation and/or size from. 

• Group - this submenu allows you to add copies of any groups you have in your scene. This is quite 
useful if you have entire objects grouped together, as you can easily add copies of them. 

• Camera - this command adds a camera to your scene. 

• Lamp - this submenu contains various types of lamps you can add to your scene. For more 
information on the different types of lamps, see Lamp Types in the manual. 

• Armature - this command adds an Armature (skeleton) to your scene. These are primarily used for 
animating arms, legs, etc, though if you are in a Pixar-y mood, you can always rig up a lamp! 

• Lattice - this command adds a Lattice to your scene. These objects do not do anything themselves; 
however, you can use them to deform objects. In order to have a Lattice deform an object, you have to 
add a Lattice Modifier to the object you want to deform. You can then place the Lattice around the 
object (like a cage), and any changes to the Lattice will deform the object. The more detailed the 
object you are deforming is, the better it will look, so a Subsurf modifier may be helpful here. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



143 



Using the 3D Window Edit 

Edit 

• Enter Editmode - this command will enter Edit mode , which allows you to edit the vertices, edges, 
and faces of a specific object, rather than manipulating the entire object. 

• Duplicate - this command makes a separate duplicate of the selected object(s). 

• Duplicate Linked - this command makes a duplicate of the selected object; however, the ObData is 
shared, so the objects share the same mesh (if applicable), Ipo curve, etc. 

• Delete - this command deletes the selected object(s). 

• Object Keys - this submenu contains commands related to keyframes . 

♦ Show/Hide - this command toggles showing wireframe version of the keyframes for the 
selected object. This is quite useful, as it allows you to visualize the path of the selected 
object. 

♦ Select Next - this command selects the next keyframe for the selected object. 

♦ Select Prev - this command selects the previous keyframe for the selected object. 



Select 



• Grouped - This submenu contains commands to select objects by various groupings. 

♦ Children - This command selects all the children of the selected object(s) (as in their 
children, the children of their children, etc.) 

♦ Immediate Children - This command selects the children of the select object(s); however, 
unlike the previous command, it does not continue selecting the children of the childrden. 

♦ Parent - This command selects the parent(s) of the selected object(s). 

♦ Siblings (Shared Parent) - This command selects all the objects that shared the parent of an 
object. This means that if you have, for example, several Blender objects that make up one 
physical object that are all children of one part of the object of an empty, you can select one 
Blender object that is part of the physical object, use this command, and all the Blender 
objects that make up the physical object will be selected (if that made any sense!). 

♦ Objects of Same Type - This command selects all objects of the same type (Lamp, Mesh, 
Camera, etc.) 

♦ Objects on Shared Layers - This command selects all the objects on the same layers as the 
selected object(s). {I think.} 

♦ Objects in Same Group - This command selects all the objects in the groups that the 
selected object(s) are in. This can be used for the same purpose as Siblings (Shared Parent) 
if you have grouped parts of a physical object instead of using parents. 

♦ Objects Hooks - This command selects all the objects that are acting as Hooks for the 
selected object(s). 

• Linked - This submenu contains commands that allow you to select objects based on data (Ipo 
curves. Materials, Textures, etc.) that they share. 

♦ Object Ipo - This command selects all the objects that share the Ipo curves of the selected 
object(s). 

♦ ObData - This command selects all the objects that share the ObData of the selected 
object(s). 

♦ Material - This command selects all the object(s) that share the Material(s) of the selected 
object(s). 

♦ Texture - This command selects all the object(s) that share the Texture(s) of the selected 
object(s). 

• Select All By Type - This submenu contains commands that allow you to select all the objects of a 
certain type (Mesh, Camera, Lamp, etc.) 

• Select All By Layer - This submenu contains commands that allow you to select all the objects in a 
specified layer. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 144 



Using the 3D Window Transform 

• Inverse - This command inverts the selection (selects all the deselected objects and deselects all the 
selected objects. 

• Select/Deselect All - This command deselects the current selection if there is one; if nothing is 
selected, it selects everything. 

• Border Select - This command allows you to select objects using the traditional rectangle marquee 
(which isn't actually display as a marquee) that most programs use. 



Transform 

• Grab/Move - This command allows you to freely grab (move/translate) the selected object(s). 

• Grab/Move on Axis - This submenu contains commands that allow you to move an object along a 
specific axis: X Global, Y Global, etc. 

• Rotate - This command allows you to rotate an object about the view Z axis (i.e. it turns 
clockwise/counterclockwise around the screen; the rotation axis goes straight into the display.) 

• Rotate on Axis - This submenu allows you to rotate an object about a specific axis. X Global, Y 
Global, etc. 

• Scale - This command scales the selected object(s). 

• Scale on Axis - This submenu contains commands that allow you to scale an object on a certain axis: 
X Global, etc. 

• ObData to Center - This command moves the Mesh/Curve Points/etc. of an object so that they are 
centered according to the current object center. 

• Center New - This command moves the center of the object to the center of the object data. 

• Center Cursor - This command moves the center of the object to the current location of the 3D 
cursor. 

• Properties - This command toggles the Transform Properties floating panel, which allows you to 
input exact locations for vertices, as well as location, rotation, and size for entire objects. 

• Mirror - This command allows you to mirror (flip) the selection about the appropriate axis. As with 
all axis-related stuff. Global refers to the view in general, while Local refers to the axis specific to 
that object. 

• Snap - This submenu contains commands that allow you to snap the 3D cursor and the selection to 
the grid and each other. 

♦ Selection -> Grid - This command snaps the selection to the nearest point on the grid. 

♦ Selection -> Cursor - This command snaps the selection to the location of the 3D cursor. 

♦ Cursor -> Grid - This command snaps the 3D cursor to the nearest point on the grid. This is 
quite useful if you manually clicked to position the 3D cursor, and it didn't land exactly where 
you wanted. 

♦ Cursor -> Selection - This command snaps the 3D cursor to the center of the selected 
object(s). 

♦ Selection -> Center - This command snaps the selected object(s) to the center of the 
selected object(s). This is most useful in edit mode, as it allows you to snap vertices, edges, or 
faces to the center of the object you're working on. 

• Clear/Apply - This submenu contains commands that allow you to clear (reset) or apply (make 
permanent) the location, rotation, scale, deformation, or duplicates of the selected objects. 

♦ Clear Location - This command clears (resets) the location of the selected object(s) to 0,0,0. 

♦ Clear Rotation - This command clears (resets) the rotation of the selected object(s). 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 145 



Using the 3D Window Render 

♦ Clear Scale - This command clears (resets) the scale of the selected object(s). 

♦ Apply Scale/Rotation - This command applies the scale and rotation. The object data 
(mesh/curve points/etc.) is modified so that the scale is 1 and the object isn't rotated at all. 

♦ Apply Deformation 

♦ Make Duplicates Real - This command makes the duplicates (from using DupliVerts or 
DupliFrames) real objects (so you can edit them individually). 

Render 

• Passepartout - This option toggles the Passepartout option of the selected camera. When turned on, 
it darkens the area around the camera, allowing you to focus on the area that's actually going to be 
rendered. 

• Set Border - This option allows you to drag to select a specific area of the camera view to render. 
This is useful if you're tweaking a specific detail of an object and don't want to render the entire scene 
(If you're tweaking an entire object. Local View may be more of what you're looking for). If you want 
to remove this clipping region from your future rendering, uncheck the Border button (checked by 
default when you use the Set Border option) in the bottom of the Render panel in the Scene (FIO) 
context and Render buttons subcontext. 

• Render - This option renders the current scene. It's the same as the big RENDER button in the button 
window, and can also be activated with F12. 

• Anim - This option renders an animation using the current animation settings. It's the same as the 
ANIM button in the button window, and can be activated by Ctrl F12. 

• Preview - This toggles the Preview Render floating panel, which displays a preview 
(non-antialiased) version of whatever portion of the 3D view is currently underneath it. 



Previous: Manual/Using the 3D View Contents Next: Manual/Camera View 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 146 



Using the 3D Window Add a new camera 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

Add a new camera 

Mode : Object Mode 

Hotkey: Shift A to add new, F9 to change settings. 

Menu: Add af Camera 

In object-mode simply press space and in the popup menu, choose Add — >Camera. New cameras are 
directed in parallel with the current viewport. 

Change active camera 

Mode: Object Mode 
Hotkey: Ctrl NUMO 




Active Camera 

Active camera is the camera that is currently used for rendering. Select the camera you would like to make 
active and press Ctrl NUMO (by doing so, you also switch the view to camera view). In order to render, each 
scene must have a camera. 

The active camera is the one with the filled Up triangle on top seen in the 3D viewport. The left camera in the 
picture. 

The Active Camera for rendering purposes is tied to the "Lock Layers and Used Camera to Scene" button 
(lock icon) for each 3D view port. Whichever camera was designated Active in a viewport where this option 
is activated (locked) becomes the rendering camera. If all 3D views are unlocked (as mine were to display the 
various views simultaneously), no matter which camera is made "Active" for the unlocked viewport, only the 
camera from the previously locked view will be the render camera. 



Move active camera to view 

Mode: Object Mode 

Hotkey: Ah Ctrl NUMO 

Moves the selected camera to current 3D view. Select a camera and then move around in 3D view to a desired 
position and direction for your camera. Now press Alt Ctrl NUMO and your selected camera positions itself at 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 147 



Using the 3D Window 



Camera Settings 



your spot and switches to camera view. 



Camera Settings 





^IRP 




SiMiwr'^^^^^B 


Lens: i^m 




LIMS 1 


<_.J>!>Feisifl.ffl . 


Mlal J 


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Camera panel 




Camera 




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Camera View 

Cameras are invisible in a scene; they are never rendered, so they don't have any material or texture settings. 
However, they do have Object and Editing setting panels available which are displayed when a camera is the 
active (selected) object. 

• Lens - Represents the lens in mm. If Orthographic is selected, this will change to a Scale variable. 

• DoFDist - Distance to the point of focus. It is shown as a yellow cross on the camera line of sight. 
Limits must be enabled to see the cross. It is used in combination with the Defocus Node 

• Orthographic - Toggles Orthographic mode for rendering. See Manual/Using the 3D View for a more 
detailed description on Orthographic mode. You can limit what is rendered by moving the camera. 
Objects behind the camera's XY plane are not rendered. When enabled, the Lens Size field changes to 
a Size field, which includes more/less area in the render. 

• Clipping Start/End - Sets the clipping limits. Only objects within the limits are rendered. If Limits is 
enabled, the clipping will be seen as two yellow dots on the camera line of sight. C on the Camera 
picture. The first is at Camera origin. 

• Shift X/Y - Shifts the camera viewport. 

• Limits - Toggles viewing of the limits on and off. 



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148 



Using the 3D Window Camera Navigation 

• Mist - Toggles viewing of the mist limits on and off. The limits are shown as two white dots on the 
camera line of sight. A and B on the Camera picture. The mist limits are set in the World Panel F8. 

• Name - Toggle name on and off. D on the Camera View picture. 

• Title Safe - When title safe is enabled an extra dotted frame is drawn inside the camera viewport. 
Shown beside E. 

• Passepartout Alpha - This mode draws the area outside of the camera's field of view with a different 
darkness, set by the Alpha setting. 

• Size - The draw size of the camera in the 3D view. This doesn't affect the camera's output, it is just a 
convenience to enable easier selection of the camera object in the viewport. (The camera object can 
also be scaled using the standard S transform key). 



Camera Navigation 

To control the camera while viewing through it NumPad 0: 

Aiming thie camera 

Press Shift F to enter "Camera Fly Mode", then move the mouse around to aim the camera, LMB ^- to set the 
new orientation, RMB U or ESC to cancel. 



Rolling 

To roll the camera, the camera needs to be selected (while viewing throught it, RMB ' - on the solid 
rectangular edges selects it), then press R to enter standard object rotation mode, the default will be to rotate 
the camera in it's local Z axis. 



Pitch 

To rotate along the local X axis, press R, then XX. The first X (or Y or Z for other axis) selects the global 
axis, pressing the "axis letter" a second time selects the local axis (this works when rotating any object). 



Dolly 



To dolly the camera, press G then MMB O, LMB B to complete. 



Track Camera 

Press G(rab) and move the mouse ( LMB - to set position). 



Previous: Manual/3D View Options Contents Next: Manual/Layers 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 149 



Layers Layers 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

Layers 

Mode: Object Mode 

Panel: Object Draw 

Hotkey: M 

Menu: Object Move to Layer... 



Description 

3D scenes often become exponentially more confusing with growing complexity. Also, sometimes the artist 
needs precise control over how individual objects are lit, and do not want lights for one object to affect nearby 
objects. For this and other reasons below, objects are placed into one or more "layers". Using Object Layers, 
you can: 

• By selecting certain layers in the 3D-View header bar, only objects on those layers are displayed at 
any one time in your 3D View, speeding up refresh/redraw, reducing virtual-world clutter, and 
enhancing workflow velocity. 

• By making a light illuminate only those objects on its layer, then you control which lights illuminate 
an object, and vice versa 

• Since Particles are affected by forces and effects on the same layer, you can control which forces 
effect which particle systems 

• Renderlayers cause the rendering of objects on certain layers. By using Renderlayers, you control 
which objects on currently selected layers are rendered, and which properties/channels are made 
available for compositing. 

Armatures can become very complex, with different types of bones, controllers, solvers, custom shapes, and 
so on, all withing a fairly close space, can also become cluttered. Therefore, Blender provides layers just for 
Armatures. Armature layers are very similar to object layers, in that you can divide up an armature (rig) across 
layers and only display those layers you wish to work on. Layers (armature and object) behave the same way. 
Armature layers are discussed in the Armatures section . 

3D layers differ from the layers you may know from 2D graphics applications: they have no influence on the 
drawing order and are there (except for the special functions listed above) mainly to provide the modeler with 
a better overview. 

When rendering. Blender only renders those layers selected. If all your lights are on a layer that is not 
selected, you won't see anything in your render except for objects lit by ambient lighting. 

Groups and Parenting are other ways to logically group related sets of objects. Please refer to those applicable 
sections for more info. 



Options 



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Moving objects between layers 



Moving objects between layers 



Viewing layers 

Blender provides 20 layers; you can choose which are to be displayed with the small unlabeled buttons in the 
header (A 3D Viewport's layer buttons.). To select only one layer, click the appropriate button with LMB ^ '; to 
select more than one, hold Shift while cUcking. 



^m- 



View Select Object | tl. Object Mode ~| |^ -| |fl '~^\ [^Global '| ^ 



A 3D Viewport's layer buttons. 

To select layers via the keyboard, press 1 to (on the main area of the keyboard) for layers 1 through 10 (the 
top row of buttons), and Alt 1 to Alt for layers 1 1 through 20 (the bottom row). The Shift key for multiple 
selection works for these hotkeys too. By default, the lock button directly to the right of the layer buttons is 
pressed; this means that changes to the viewed layers affect all 3D Viewports. To select only certain layers in 
one window, deselect locking first. 



IVIultiple Layers 

An object can exist on multiple layers. For example, a lamp that only lights objects on a shared layer could 
"be" on layers 1, 2, and 3. An object on layers 3 and 4 would be lit, whereas an object on layers 4 and 5 would 
not. There are many places were layer-specific effects come into play, especially lights and particles. To 
place an object on multiple layers. Press M and then shift-click the layers you want it to be on. 



Moving objects between layers 



E 



OK 



1 



Layer selection 



To move selected objects to a different layer, press M, select the layer you want from the pop-up dialog, then 
press the Ok button. Objects can be on more then one layer at a time. To move an object to multiple layers, 
hold Shift while clicking. If you wish to clone-display the object to additional layers, be sure to Shift LMB B 
click the original layer as well. 



m 



Panels 



Qm-J'mO.^ ^ 



Object pane selection 

Another way to view or change a selected object layer is via the draw pane, this can be located by pressing F7 
or clicking on the panel object icon as shown 








Drawt^pe 



Draw EKtra 



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Bounds 


Name 


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29/01/2009 13.49.52 



151 



Layer Naming Script Layer Naming Script 

Object draw pane layers 

You will then see the layer buttons in the draw pane, as before the object can be displayed on more then one 
layer by hold Shift while clicking. In this way, you can control what objects are shown on each layer. Layers 
are useful in keeping your display from being too cluttered, from refresh/redraw time being too long, and to 
give you control over what to render for later compositing. 



Animating Layers 

An Object's layer "membership" can be animated E.g. to have objects suddenly appear or disappear in a scene. 

Example of Object layer arrangement 

As a suggestion, use the top row of layers for the real important things, and the bottom row for those you don't 
use or change often, or for alternatives for the top row. In a staged set involving mainly two actors, then, you 
might have, for Layers: 

1 . Lead Actor 

2. Supporting Actor 

3. Supporting Crew (background actors) 

4. Particles and effects (vortex, wind) 

6. Main Stage 

7. Main backdrops and panels 

8. Main props (tables, chairs) 

9. Little props, fillers, decorations, trappings 

10. Cameras, Lights 

1 1 . Lead Actor's armature 

12. Supporting Actor's armature 
13: Crew armatures 

14: alternative clothing 
15:meshWIP 

16. different stage setup, dimensions 

17. different backdrops that maybe we should use 

18. other big props that maybe clog up the scene 

19. props WIP 

20. Additional lighting 

Layer Naming Script 

y^ Layer Manager Scripts: 

There are also a few scripts available that allows you to give names to layers. 



Links: 



4mm Layer Manager Script 
Laver Manager Script 



Previous: Manual/Camera View Contents Next: Manual/LocalGlobal 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 152 



Layer Naming Script 



Local or Global View 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

Local or Global View 

Mode: Object Mode or Edit Mode 

Hotkey: NumPad / 

Menu: View af Local View or Global View 



Description 

Toggles between Local and Global view mode. The currently selected object is the focus for the mode. An 
object must be selected to enter Local view mode. 



Examples 

The Layers on the 3D view header disappears while in Local view mode. 



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Local View. 


m 



Global View. 



In (Global View), the Layer buttons are visible and the green cube is selected. (Local View) shows the cube 
has been focused and centered in the 3D view and the Layer buttons have disappeared. This feature is handy 
when you want to focus on just the object and nothing else. If a scene has thousands of objects visible, it can 
potentially speed interactivity up because it is the only object visible. 



Previous: Manual/Lavers 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Manipulation in 3D Space 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



153 



What is Grease Pencil? What is Grease Pencil? 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.48.1 



What is Grease Pencil? 

This page is based on the grease pencil release logs for blender 2.48 

The ability to draw in and/or on viewports using freehand strokes to form sketches and annotations has many 
benefits for collaborative communication and planning. This can be linked back to traditional 2D-workflows 
with pencil and paper, where rough 'guideline' sketches were often used for planning and also for 
communicating ideas quickly. It is often useful to be able to directly scribble on to a work in progress, instead 
of having to do so in a separate place (i.e. another part of the window, or even in a different application 
altogether). 

The name "Grease Pencil" is derived in homage to the wax crayons/pencils that early CG Animators used to 
draw arcs and other planning notes on their CRT's with. 

In addition to uses for animators in planning their poses and motion curves. Grease Pencil can also be useful 
in a number of scenarios, including but not hmited to: 

• Planning topology and/or layout of models 

• Director's shot review tool 

• "Whiteboard" and assignment review tool for educators 



Preparing to Draw 

1. The first step when using Grease Pencil is to enable the display of Grease Pencil drawings for the 
relevant view. To do this, locate the 'Grease Pencil...' entry in the 'View' menu; click on the 'Use 
Grease Pencil' toggle that appears in the panel. 

2. At this point, click on 'Add New Layer' to add a new layer to draw on. This step is not necessary when 
you are starting off a new drawing (as a new layer will automatically be created for you), unless you 
want to customise the line width, colour, and opacity before drawing. However, if you want to draw 
on a new layer once layers already exist, it is necessary to click on the button. 

Grease Pencil is available for the following spacetypes- 3d- View, Nodes Editor, Image Editor, Sequence 
Editor. 

Please note: Grease Pencil data is currently unique to the particular screen area that it was created for, 
which means that if you remove that view, you lose your grease pencil data. 



Drawing 



Quick Usage (For Just A Few Strol<es) 

• To draw a stroke: While holding Shift-LMB, start dragging the mouse to draw a new stroke. The 
stroke will finish when you release the mouse button. 

• To erase stroke(s): While holding Alt-RMB, start dragging the mouse to erase segments of strokes 
that fall within the radius of the eraser 'brush'. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 154 



What is Grease Pencil? Easier usage (for drawing more complex sketches) 

Easier usage (for drawing more complex sJcetchies) 

1. Enable the 'Draw Mode' toggle in top right-hand corner of the 'Grease Pencil' panel. 

2. As for quickly drawing a few strokes, use the same mouse buttons to draw and erase, BUT without 
needing to use the modifier keys too (i.e. LMB to draw, RMB to erase). 



Special Tricks in 'Draw Mode' 

• Drawing a straight line: Hold CtrlKey while dragging with the LMB to draw a straight line. 
Although a wavy line will still appear on screen, only the endpoints of that stroke will be used for the 
final stroke that gets stored. This is a useful feature for architectural uses. 

• Drawing a dot: Simply click on a spot. This is mentioned here because it is not available when 'Draw 
Mode' is not enabled. 



For Tablet Users 

• The thickness of a stroke at a particular point is affected by the pressure used when drawing that part 
of the stroke 

• The 'eraser' end of the stylus can be used to erase strokes too 



Sensitivity When Drawing 

The default settings for the sensitivity to mouse/stylus movement when drawing, have been set so that there 
shouldn't be too much jitter while still allowing for fine details to be made. However, sometimes these settings 
may not be appropriate, in which case, the defaults can be found in the User Preferences under Edit Methods. 

• Manhatten Distance: The minimum number of pixels the mouse should have moved either 
horizontally or vertically before the movement is recorded. Decreasing this should work better for 
curvy lines 

• Euclidean Distance: The minimum distance that mouse should have travelled before movement is 
recorded. Imagine this as length of imaginary string between last recorded position and 
mouse-cursor. 

• Eraser Radius: This is self-explanatory. It is simply the size of the eraser 'brush', so changing this 
will affect how likely strokes are going to be covered within the eraser brush and thus erased 

• Smooth Stroke: This turns the post-processing step of smoothing the stroke to remove jitter. It is 
only relevant when not drawing straight lines. By default this is off, as it can often cause 'shrinking' of 
drawings, which is sometimes not that desirable. 



Additional notes 

• When 'Draw Mode' is enabled, many of the other events that are attached to the LMB and RMB are 
blocked. 

• If 'Swap mouse buttons' is enabled, this has no effect on the mapping of mouse-buttons to 
drawing/erasing operations. However, it may become difficult to select using Shift-LMB in such a 
situation, in which case the tiny 'Lock' icon beside the 'Draw Mode' button should be enabled to help 
alleviate the problems (that will simply disable drawing from occurring with Shift-LMB). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 155 



What is Grease Pencil? Drawing Planes 

Drawing Planes 

Sketches are only relevant for the view/view-angle (referred to here as the 'drawing plane') that they were 
drawn at. There are several different options for how individual strokes (determined by the settings in use 
when the stroke was created) will be displayed. 

• Screen-Aligned: This is the default drawing plane for the 3D-View, and is also the viewing plane 
that gets used for the other editors when 'Stick to View' is disabled. All new strokes that get drawn in 
this mode appear to be 'stuck' to the screen-surface (much like markers on a monitor), and will 
therefore stay unaffected by zooming/translating/rotating the view 

• View aligned (default for all 2D Views): New strokes are affected by manipulating the view. This 
can be turned on/off using 'Stick to View' option. 

• Drawing in 3D-Space (only available in the 3D- View): New strokes are drawn in 3D-space, with 
the position of their points being determined by the position of the 3D-cursor and the view rotation at 
the time. 



Layers 

Grease Pencil sketches are organised in layers, much like those you could find in the GIMP or Photoshop. 
These layers are not related to any of the other layer systems in Blender, and also do not have an upper limit 
on the maximum number of layers that can be used. Like the layers in the aforementioned apps, these layers 
can also be renamed, locked, hidden, and deleted. 

Their main purpose is to collect together a bunch of sketches that belong together in some meaningful way 
(i.e. "blocking notes", "director's comments on blocking", or "guidelines"). For this reason, all the strokes on a 
layer (not just those made after a particular change) are affected by that layer's colour, opacity, and stroke 
thickness settings. 

By default, most operations occur only on the 'active' layer. The active layer can be identified as the one with 
the different panel colour (in the default set, an light orangy-brown colour). Clicking on a layer, or changing 
any of its settings will make it the new active layer. 

The active layer can also be identified by looking at the status indicator (in the top right-hand corner of every 
view with Grease Pencil data being shown). Animated Sketches 

Grease Pencil can be used to do basic pencil tests (i.e. 2D animation in flipbook style). Sketches are stored on 
the frame that they were drawn on, as a separate drawing (only on the layer that they exist on). Each drawing 
is visible until the next drawing for that layer is encountered. The only exception to this is the first drawing for 
a layer, which will also be visible before the frame it was drawn on. 

Therefore, it is simple to make a pencil-test/series of animated sketches: 

1. Go to first relevant frame. Draw. 

2. Jump to next relevant frame. Draw some more. 

3. Keep repeating process, and drawing until satisfied. Voila! Animated sketches. 



Onion Sl<inning 

Onion-skinning (also known as ghosting), is a useful tool for animators, as neighboring frame(s) are lightly 
drawn by Blender. It allows animators to make judgments about movements, by comparing movement from 
different frames. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 156 



What is Grease Pencil? Adjusting Timing of Sketches 

Usage Notes: 

• Onion-skinning is enabled per layer by clicking on the 'Onion Skinning' button. 

• The 'GStep' field controls how many fi^ames will be drawn. When 'GStep' is 0, only the drawing on 
either side of the current fi^ame will be visible. Otherwise, it this field specifies the maximum number 
of frames on either side of the current frame that will result in a neighboring drawing being included. 



Adjusting Timing of Sl<etclies 

It is possible to set a Grease-Pencil block to be loaded up in the Action Editor for editing of the timings of the 
drawings. This is especially useful for animators blocking out shots, where the ability to re-time blocking 
poses is one of the main purposes of the whole exercise. 

1. In an Action Editor window, change the mode selector (found beside the menus) to 'Grease Pencil' (by 
default, it should be set to 'Action Editor'). 

2. At this point, the Action Editor should now display a few 'channels' with some 'keyframes' on them. 
These 'channels' are the layers, and the 'keyframes' are the frames that each layer has. They can be 
manipulated like any other data in the Action Editor can be. 

All the available Grease-Pencil blocks for the current screen layout will be shown. The Area/Grease-Pencil 
datablocks are drawn as green channels, and are named with relevant info from the views. They are also 
labelled with the Area index (which is currently not shown anywhere else though). 



Copying Sl<etches 

It is possible to copy sketches from a layerAayers to other layers in the Action Editor using the Copy/Paste 
buttons in the header. This works in a similar way as the copy/paste tools for keyframes in the Action Editor. 

Sketches can also be copied from one screen (or view) to another using these tools. It is important to keep in 
mind that keyframes will only be pasted into selected layers, so layers will need to be created for the 
destination areas too. 



Converting SJcetchies to Othier Forms 

In the 3D-view, sketches on the active layer can be converted to geometry, based on the current view settings. 
Sketches are converted into geometry by transforming the points recorded when drawing (which make up the 
strokes) into 3D-space (based on the current view settings). Currently, all points will be used, so it may be 
necessary to simplify or subdivide parts of the created geometry for standard use. 

Sketches can currently be converted into one of three types: 

• Armature: Each stroke is converted into a bone chain, which is assigned to an armature named after 
the active layer. The bones in each chain are connected and parented to each other. Also, bones inherit 
their envelope radii from the thickness of their stroke at each recorded point. 

• Bezier Curve and Path: Each stroke is converted into a separate curve within a curve object that's 
named after the active layer. Handles are automatically set to be 'free' handles (i.e. the black type), 
and are set to be in the same places as the control-points. The weight/radius of the curve at each 
control-point is set to equal the thickness of the stroke at each recorded point. However, in order to 
see that, you need to set the 'BevOb' field to use a CurveCircle or similar curve. 



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What is Grease Pencil? Adjusting Timing of Sl<etches 



Previous: Manual/LocalGlobal Contents Next: Manual/Manipulation in 3D Space 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 158 



Description Description 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



Description 



There are many things you can do with the selected object within your virtual world. You can twist it, make it 
bigger or smaller, spin it around, change its shape, and so on. This section tells you how to do these things to 
your objects. 

As you will find with most of Blender, there isn't just "one way" to do things. For infrequent users, there is 
always the context-sensitive menus. For more experienced users, there are hotkeys, where merely tapping a 
key performs an action. 



Menu Options 



With an object selected in a 3D view, the menu bar shows the selections View, Select and Object. Click the 
Object selection to manipulate the object. The menu that pops up has the option Transform. Hovering over 
Transform pops up a sub-menu, showing you selections (and hot keys on the right) for manipulating the 
object: 

■ Grab/Move 

• Rotate 

■ Scale 

• Convert to Sphere 

• Shear 
• Warp 

• Push/Pull 

Since there are also hotkeys to do these things, please read on to the next section. 



Previous: Manual/Lavers Contents Next: Manual/Hotkeys 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 159 



Rotate Rotate 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Grab/Move 

Mode: Object Mode/Edit Mode 

Hotkey: G 

Menu: Object/Mesh/etc Transform Grab/Move 



Description 

One of the fastest ways to move things in 3D space is with G. Pressing the hotkey will enter the 'grab/move' 
transformation mode where the selected object or data is moved according to the mouse pointer's location. 
The distance from the mouse pointer to the manipulated object has no effect. 



Options 

Confirm the move, and leave the object or data at its current location on the screen 



LMB^ 



MMB^ 

Constrain the move to the X, Y or Z axis. 
RMB '-^ or Esc 

Cancel the move, and return the object or data to its original location 
Proportional Edit 

The circle of influence, changed by MW U ^ to make smaller and MW D P to make bigger, is shown 

and will move vertices within that circle by the proportional method/falloff chosen. 

See the rest of the Manipulation in 3D space section for additional options available within the transformation 
modes. 



Rotate 

Mode: Object Mode/Edit Mode 

Hotkey: R 

Menu: Object/Mesh/etc Transform Rotate 



Description 

Pressing R will enter the 'rotate' transformation mode where the selected object or data is rotated according to 
the mouse pointer's location. This mode uses the angle from the pivot point to the mouse pointer as the angle 
for rotation, so moving the mouse further from the object/data will give more fine-grained precision (i.e. the 
mouse movement will affect the rotation less, for the same mouse distance moved). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 160 



Scale Scale 

Options 

Confirm the rotation, and leave the object or data at its current rotation on the screen 



LMB^ 



MMB- 

Constrain the rotation about the X, Y or Z axis. 

RMB ("-? or Esc 

Cancel the rotation, and return the object or data to its original rotation 

R (Trackball) 

Pressing R while already rotating toggles the rotation mode between a single axis rotation (either 
aligned to the screen or around a certain axis) and a two axis, 'trackball' rotation. In Trackball mode, 
the rotation of the object is controlled by both the X and Y location of the mouse pointer, similar to 
the trackball view rotation mode. This can be a quick way to rotate an object into place, without 
having to keep changing the view rotation while adjusting. 

See the rest of the Manipulation in 3D space section for additional options available within the transformation 
modes. 



Scale 

Mode: Object Mode/Edit Mode 

Hotkey: S 

Menu: Object/Mesh/etc Transform Scale 



Description 

Pressing S will enter the 'scale' transformation mode where the selected object or data is scaled inward or 
outward according to the mouse pointer's location. The object/data's scale will increase as the mouse pointer is 
moved away from the pivot point, and decrease as the pointer is moved towards it. If the mouse pointer 
crosses from the original side of the pivot point to the opposite side, the scale will continue in the negative 
direction, making the object/data appear flipped. The precision of the scaling is determined by the distance 
from the mouse pointer to the object/data when the scaling begins 



Options 

Confirm the scale, and leave the object or data at its current scale on the screen 



LMB^ 



MMB^ 



RMB 8 or Esc 



Constrain the scaling to the X, Y or Z axis. 

or Esc 

Cancel the scale, and return the object or data to its original scale 



Alts 

Scales along the selected normal direction 

See the rest of the Manipulation in 3D space section for additional options available within the transformation 
modes. 



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Cancel transformations Cancel transformations 

Precision 

Mode: Object Mode/Edit Mode 
Hotkey: Ctrl, Shift 

Description 

Holding Ctrl and/or Shift during a manipulation can be used to control the precision more finely. 

Options 

Ctrl (Snap) 

Snap the transformation on 1 blender unit (or 1/10 blender unit depending of the zooming view) 
Shift (Precise) 

Allow more finer transformation control but not by precise values 
Ctrl and Shift 

Snap the transformation on 1/10 blender unit (or 1/100 blender unit depending on the zooming view) 

Numeric transformations 

Mode: Object Mode/Edit Mode 

Hotkey: G, R, S then NumPad +/- and NumPad 0-9 or Keyboard 0-9 



Description 

When doing a tranformation, instead of using the mouse (imprecise work), you can directly pass a precise 
value. 

Hit NumPad - (on a french keyboard the minus is under the number 6 key so you must use the Numpad) if 
you want negative values then a numeric value. You can see the values in the header of the 3D View. If you 
were using an axis constraint (global or local), the value is applied to that axis. If there is no axis constraint 
and you want to choose which axis to control, you can use Tab to switch from any of the axis (a cursor 
appears after the value). You can also return to a mouse control with Backspace 



Cancel transformations 

Mode: Object Mode 

Hotkey: AUG, Alts, Alt R 

Menu: Object Clear/ Apply Clear Location, Clear Scale, Clear Rotation 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 162 



Align Align 

Description 

You can clear any transformation done in Object Mode. 

Options 

AUG 

Clear the location of the selection 
Alts 

Clear the scale of the selection 
AltR 

Clear the rotation of the selection 

Align 

Mode: Object Mode 

Hotkey: Ctrl Alt A 

Menu: Object Transform Align to Transform Orientation 

Description 

Align selected objects to a specific Transform Orientation . 



Previous: Manual/Manipulation in 3D ^ ,r t.^ ,,t,^ • , 

Contents Next: Manual/Manipulators 

Space 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 163 



Align Manipulators 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Manipulators 

Mode: Object mode, Edit Mode 
Hotkey: Ctrl Space 




Combination manipulator 

When using the normal Transform commands (G=Grab, R=Rotation, S=Scale) they will work only parallel to 
the current view. (The transform commands can be augmented with additional modifer keys. E.g. pressing X, 
Y or Z immediately after G, R, or S will contrain the transform to that global axis (using MMB O will do the 
same but along the nearest axis from the mouse pointer). Pressing R, a second time before pressing LMB B 
(i.e. while the rotation command is in progress, releases the default "parallel" rotation constraint, allowing free 
rotation in any axis. (This is only noticeable in a non "user" view (Front, Right, Top ..etc) 

Read more about Axis Locking 

Manipulators provide a visual representation of the transform commands and allow movement, rotation and 
scaling along any axis in any mode of the 3d window. 



O - 4^ [<f? A @ n Global - 





Manipulator Header 

The manipulator can also be accessed in the header of the 3D View window (Shift LMB G can select more 
than one manipulator at the same time) 

Hand 

Enable/disable the manipulators 
Triangle 

Translation/location 
Circle 

Rotation 
Box 

Scale 
Tranform Orientation 

Control the orientation of the axis for transformations 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 164 



Align 



Manipulator types 



Manipulator types 

Mode: Object mode, Edit Mode 

Hotkey: 

Ctrl Alt G Translate / Move 

Ctrl Alt R Rotate 

Ctrl Alt S Scale 



There is a separate manipulator for each Transform Command. Each can be viewed separately or in a 
combination. 




Scale 



Combination 



Other Manipulator controls 

Holding down Ctrl constrains the action in certain increments (Loc/scale = 1 Grid unit, Rot= 5 degrees) 

Holding down Shift when you LMB P on one of the handles the Manipulator action will be performed on the 
other two axes to the one you Clicked on, you can let go of Shift once you have LMB ' - 

LMB B on the white circle (largest circle around rotation Manipulator) do the same as pressing R 

LMB B on the grey circle (inner circle around rotation Manipulator) do the same as pressing R twice (tracking 
rotation) 



Manipulator Preferences 



3D Transform Widget; 



Size: 20 ■: Handle: 2fi 



Hog pot: 14 



Manipulator preferences 
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Transform Orientation 



The settings of the Manipulator eg. size can be found in the 'View & Controls' section of the user preferences 
window 



Size 



Diameter of Widget, in 10 pixel units 



Handle 



Size of widget Handles, as a percentage of widget radius (size/2) 



Hot spot 



Hotspot size for clicking Widget Handles 



Transform Orientation 

Mode: Object Mode, Edit Mode 

Hotkey: Alt Space 

The default (global) transform manipulator is very useful but in some situations it's not. e.g.: scale a rotated 
object along the rotated axis. Lucidly Blender can change the orientation of the Transform Manipulator. 

Below is a list of different manipulator types. On every image, compare the position of the manipulator axes 
(color axes over the object) with the global (lower left corner of the 3D window) and local (the object is a 
empty, so just the local axes of the object are shown) ones. 



Global 




^Ift :| > ["tl Object Mode -| [0~] |ffl |"°r| \^\ik \@\n [Global T\ ^ 
Global 



Global - The manipulator matches the global axis. 



Local 



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Normal 




Local 



Local - The manipulator matches the object axis. 



Normal 




1^ :| l> ItLObject Mode -| \0 -| |ffl '-J^] |^A @ d Mormal 
Normal 



Normal - The Z axis of the manipulator will match the normal vector the selected object. Not very useful for 
the empty. See the example below. 




1^ :| t> l AEditMode -| [Q | [ffl |'"] |j^|A 



Normal 




!>■ [a Edit Mode --| [#~^ |fi -I <^] |t[^|A |(Q)|a | Normal T\^ 

Cube example 



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View 



A better example using a object with face normals, selecting faces on edit mode: 



View 




1^ '•{ l> I tl. Object Mode '| \0 '\ |ffl :|<^| \^\^ |-:iv|a | View 
View 

View - The manipulator will match the 3D window, YafUP/DOWN, Xaf 'Left/Right, Zaf towards/away 
from you. 



Previous: Manual/Hotkeys 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Gestures 



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User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Gestures 

Mode: Object Mode / Edit Mode 
Hotkey: LMB ^-^ (drag) 



Blender's 3D transform modes can also be invoked by drawing mouse gestures. The tool is designed to figure 
out what mode to enter based on a hand-drawn gesture. After a gesture is drawn as described below, release 
the LMB -'. Move the mouse without pressing any button, then click the LMB ■- when you achieve the effect 
you want. To cancel, click the RMB ' , even if movement in the scene has occurred. 

There are three gestures the tool recognizes: 

• Scale 

• Translate 

• Rotate 



Scale 



Example Scale gesture. 

To activate Scale mode draw what appears to be a V shaped path using the LMB ^~. {Example Scale gesture) 
is an example of a hand-drawn V. It doesn't have to be exact but the closer and sharper it is the better the tool 
will understand. If the V has some roundness in it it most likely will be interpreted as a request for Rotate 
mode. 



Rotate 




Example Rotate gesture. 

To activate Rotate mode draw what appears to be a C shaped curve using the LMB Sj. (Example Rotate 
gesture) is an example of a hand-drawn C. It doesn't have to be exact but the smoother the curve the better 
the tool will understand. If the C has a sharp corner in it it most likely will be interpreted as a request for Scale 
mode. 



Translate 




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Example Translate gesture. 

To activate Translate mode draw what appears to be a - or line using the LMB ^1 (Example Translate 
gesture) is an example of a hand-drawn -. It doesn't have to be exact but the straighter the line the better the 
tool will understand. If the - deviates too much from a straight line it most likely will be interpreted as a 
request for either Scale mode or Rotate mode. 



Previous: Manual/Manipulators Contents Next: Manual/Axis Locking 



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Normal axis locking 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Normal axis locking 

Mode: ObjectMode / EditMode (translate, rotate, scale, extrude) 

Hotkey: X, Y, Z 

Blender has a very useful option: If you want to 

• S - Scale 

• R - Rotate 

• G - Move/Grab/Translate 

• E - Extmde 

the selected object, the operation can be constrained to one axis: 

Press the appropriate key to start the operation (i.e. S to scale), then press X, Y, or Z to constrain to the 
corresponding global axis. 

If the same "axis" key is pressed again, the operation is constrained to the object's Local axis e.g. G, X, X to 
constrain to the object's local X axis. 

Move/Translate 

Press : 

• G,X for the global X-axis (left and right). 

• G,Y for the global Y-axis (forward and back). 

• G,Z for the global Z-axis (up and down). 




^ Q: -1.^141 nJl^lJiaJHiggliHraJX ^ IV. -l.ilCt (1.S10e<>Blo[ig gubu Y ^ [);-1.mi (I.lff!) alHrggimisl £ 



Translation/Grab with locked axis X, Y and Z 



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Rotate 



Rotate 



Press: 



• R,X for the global X-axis (from left to right). 

• R,Y for the global Y-axis (from front to back). 

• R,Z for the global Z-axis (up and down). 




^ BM. -aoswoi^ jt»iiy_ 



t-.j?-? ".^j. J**"." 



^ _^BW ».JT ftWj jlwt) Z_ 



Rotation with locked axis X, Y and Z 



Scale 



Press 



• S,X for the global X-axis (left and right). 

• S,Y for the global Y-axis (forward and back). 

• S,Zfor the global Z-axis (up and down). 




Sttt* 1«44 li«£4avuJ:i 



Scale with locked axis X, Y and Z 

Plane axis locking 

Mode: ObjectMode / EditMode (translate, rotate, scale, extrude) 



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Move/Translate 



Hotkey: Shift X, Shift Y, Shift Z 

You can lock two axes at once at both the global and the local axes.Press Shift X, Shift Y or Shift Z to lock 
the OTHER two axes, i.e 

• Shift X - Uses Y+Z 

• Shift Y - Uses X+Z 

• Shift Z - Uses X+Y 



Move/Translate 

• Press G,Shift X to move only along the global Y-axis and Z-axis (not left and right) 

• Press G,Shift Y to move only along the global X-axis and Z-axis (not forward and back). 

• Press G,Shift Z to move only along the global X-axis and Y-axis (not up and down). 




Translation/Grab with locked axes Y+Z, X+Z and X+Y 



Rotate 

For rotation pressing Shift has no effect (except for the display of different axes). 

Rotating an object by locking two axes has the same effect as using only one axis to lock it, as rotation usinj 
two axes will rotate the object on the unlocked axis. 



Scale 



Press S, Shift X for the global Y-axis and Z-axis (not left and right) 
Press S, Shift Y for the global X-axis and Z-axis (not forward and back). 
Press S, Shift Z for the global X-axis and Y-axis (not up and down). 



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Move/Translate 




KM 1«l< IHIJlKt^fW^lK 



ssm ;«TW z tiiw i«tn] ib«4i V 



S4tK 7 3ini 3 9^11 LHUq^9t4l 3 



Scale with locked axes Y+Z, X+Z and X+Y 



Previous: Manual/Gestures 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Pivot Points 



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User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.45 

Pivot 

Mode: Object Mode and Edit Mode 
Menu: Droplist in the menu of the 3D view 

Pivot: 

♦ Active Object 

♦♦ Individual Centers 

4- 3D Cursor 

Median Point 

O Bounding Box Center 

Pivot Point Modes 

The pivot point is the point in space around which all rotations, all scalings and all mirror transformations are 
centered. We can chose among five general modes for our pivot points which can be selected from a drop list 
on the header of any 3D area as seen here in Pivot Point Modes. Our job is to chose the most efficient type for 
the task and to position pivot point accurately. 

Active Object 

Mode: Object Mode, Edit Mode 

Hotkey: AU . 

Forget the name: it is not limited to Objects. In Edit Mode the active element can also be a vertex, an edge or 
a face. 

In Object Mode 









JUfw^ 






>L 






"^^ ♦ 












^"^ 







Rotation around the active Object. 

What happens in Object Mode is pretty simple: rotations and scalings happen around the active Object's 
Center. This is illustrated by Rotation around the active Object where the Center of the active Object, and 
hourglass, is the only thing not to remain still. 



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In Edit Mode 



In Edit Mode 

It may seem like there is a lot of complexity to using the active element as a pivot point in Edit Mode but, in 
reality, the many possibilities result of only a few rules: 

• the pivot point is always at the median of the active element(s); 

• the transformations occur by transformation of the vertices of the selected element(s). If an 
unselected element shares one or more vertices with a selected element then the unselected one will 
get some degree of transformation also. 

Let's examine the following examples: in each case we will see that the two rules apply. 



Single selection 




Only one element selected. 

When one single element is selected it becomes automatically active. In Only one element selected we can see 
that when it is transformed its vertices move with with the consequence that any adjacent element which 
shares one or more vertices with the active element is also transformed somewhat. 
Lets review each cases: 

• Faces have their pivot point where their selection dot appears which is where the median of its 
vertices. 

• Fgons behave the same but notice that the selection dotcan be off. 

• Edges have their pivot point on their middle since this is always where the median of an edge is. 

• A single Vertex has no dimensions at all so it can't show any transformation. 



Multiple selection 




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Align Individual Objects Center 

Edit Mode and multiple selections. 

When multiple elements are selected they all transform. 

The pivot points stay in the same place as what we've seen above, with only one exception for Fgons. In 
Multiple selectionsthe selected elements have been scaled down from large to small: 

• For Faces the transformation occurs around the selection dot of the active face. 

• Fgons behave like faces with one exception that can be seen on Multiple selections: when the Fgon is 
completely surrounded by selected faces it simply cannot be made active (writing this on Jan 5 2008). 
The center pivot is then the median of all selected elements. 

• Edges also keep the same behavior with their pivot point at their median. 

• There is a case for Vertices this time: the active Vertex is where the pivot point resides. All other 
vertices are transformed relative to it. 

Again, as we have seen, all there is to remember is the two rules: 

• pivot point at the median of the active element's vertex or vertices; 

• all selected vertices, directly or as part of a bigger element, e.g. a face, and only them are transformed. 

Individual Objects Center 

Mode: Object Mode, Edit Mode 
Hotkey: Ctrl . 



In Object Mode 



-. / 



Rotation around the individual centers. 

In Rotation around the individual centers, the Object centers of each Object remains at the same location 
while each Object is rotating around them. 

Positioning the center of the Objects is a most useful technique that affords us more control over our 
animations. Let's examine Rotation around the individual centers.: 

• the center of the hourglass is coincident with the median of all its components; 



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In Edit Mode 



• the positioning of the center of the star at the tip of one of its branch allow for a rotation around it 
with only the use or Rot Ipos that are more faithfully interpolated than what we get using the 3D 
cursor in the same position. 

• the center of the crescent is completely outside of what to us appears to be the Object. The user must 
understand that the center really marks where the Object is; what we see on the screen is a 
description of what the object is made of: vertices, colors, stuff and it can very well happen happen to 
be off-center, like for the crescent here. 



In Edit Mode 

With the Vertex or the Edge selection methods in use, a selection of vertices or one of edges has its pivot 
point at the median of the set of vertices so selected. For more information see the Median Point pivot section. 

As soon as the Face selection method is in use though the pivot point as the center of those Faces becomes 
possible. 




Individual rotation of multiple faces. 

It is possible to rotate individually each face only in Face selection mode. Only faces that don't touch can be 
transformed in this way without deforming. We cannot use the Proportional Editing Tool (PET) while 
transforming individual faces this way. 




Fgon rotation with individual centers pivot point. 

Faces that touch, even when they are inside an Fgon, are deformed when rotated with individual centers as the 
pivot point. 



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3D Cursor 




Problems with Fgon and groups of faces scaling. 

Fgons and group of Faces can be scaled and their outside perimeter won't be deformed. The individual faces 
inside them aren't uniformly scaled though, something one must take into account. 

All those deformations won't happen if one is not using the Face selection mode; it becomes impossible to edit 
more than one face or one group of faces at a time though. 




Modelisation with faces and individual centers pivot point. 

Once one is aware of its limitations and pitfalls this peculiar tool can save a lot of time and lead to unique 
shapes. This 'anemone' was modeled from a 12 sided cylinder in about 10 minutes by using repeatedly this 
workflow: extrusions of individual faces, scaling with median as a pivot point, and scahng and rotations of 
those faces with individual centers as pivot points. 



3D Cursor 



Mode: Object Mode, Edit Mode 
Hotkey: . 
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Positioning the 3D cursor 



The 3d cursor is the simplest most intuitive of all pivot points; it allows for total control of the results. It can 
be summarize by this: position it and transform. 



Positioning thie 3D cursor 

There are a few methods to position the 3D cursor. 



Ms. '^ — 1~ 


t ]».->— Jl 


^^^^^^^^^ ^y^ / 


■ 


^^^^^Hfl^^H 


1 


l^^^^^^^^^^l 


H 







Positioning the 3D cursor with two orthogonal views. 

Using LMB ^- in the 3D area. For accuracy one must look and use two orthogonal (perpendicular) 3D 
areas, Any combination of top (NumPad 7), front (NumPad 1) and right side (NumPad 3) is the 
easiest to access. That way, in one view one can control the positioning along two axes and determine 
depth in the second view. 



• Snap 

Selection -> Grid 
Seiection -> Cursor 
Cursor-> Grid 



Seiection-> Cernter 



The snaps dialog. 
Using snaps: 

♦ Shift S Cursor -> Grid to send the 3D cursor to the nearest visible point of the grid; 

♦ Shift S Cursor -> Selection to send the 3D cursor to : 

the Object Center of an object; 
to a vertex 

♦ when there is more than one element in the selection and the bounding box pivot point is 
selected. Shift S sends the 3D cursor to: 

in Object Mode, to the bounding box surrounding the Objects centers; 

in Edit mode, to the center of the bounding box surrounding the selected vertice (even 

in Edge selection mode or in Face selection mode it really is the vertice that are 

selected indirectly that are taken into account. 

♦ when the median pivot point is selected. Shift S sends the 3D cursor to: 

in Object mode, the median surrounding the Object centers ; 
in Edit mode, to the the median of the selected vertice 

Lots of possibilities = lots of power. 



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Transformation 




The View Properties dialog 

Numerically, using the View Properties menu entry (View > View Properties) from the 3D View 
header bar, and then entering the 3D Cursor location in the 3D Cursor section of the resultant dialog 
box that should now be visible. 



Transformation 

All there's left to do is to select the 3D Cursor as the pivot point and rotate, scale or mirror. 

Median Point 

Mode: Object Mode, Edit Mode 
Hotkey: Ctrl , 



We can assimilate the Median point to the notion of Center Of Gravity (COG): supposing that every element 
of the selection has the same mass, the median point would sit at the COG, the point of equilibrium for the 
selection. This is very abusive as we will see soon enough. Yet it helps predicting where the Median point 
should be when planing a scene. 







■, V 




-^^ 






r 






c 








^^- 







Median point of Object Centers and ObData. 



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In Object Mode 

For Objects, only the Object Center is taken into account. Moreover, each Object Center is assumed to have 
the same mass. This can lead to very counter-intuitive results; On the Median point of Object Centers and 
ObData we see that the Median of the Objects sits at the middle of the Object centers. That is because the 
ObData (the geometry) of the moon and the star is way off their Object Center. 



In Edit Mode 

Still on Median point of Object Centers and ObData we see that even the position of the Median point for the 
ObData is surprisingly close to the hourglass: this is because it has much more vertice (611) than the moon 
(81) and the star (130). Blender supposes that every vertex has the same weight. 



Transformation 

Once the Median point has been chosen from the list the widget immediately cling to it, giving and excellent 
visual clue: all the rotations, scalings and mirror will happen around this point. 



Bounding Box Center 

Mode: Object Mode, Edit Mode 

Hotkey: , 

The bounding box is a rectangular box that is wrapped as tightly as possible around the selection. It is oriented 
parallel to the World axes. In this mode the pivot point lies at the center of the bounding box. 



In Object Mode 




The Bounding Box in Object Mode. 

In Object mode the Bounding box is wrapped around the Object Centers and does not take into account the 
ObData (geometry) 



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In Edit Mode 



In Edit Mode 




The_B ounding_box_in_Edit_Mode . 

This time it is the ObData that is enclosed in the box because all of its vertice were selected, The bounding 
box in Edit Mode takes no account of the Objects centers but only of the selected vertices. 



Previous: Manual/Axis Locking 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Proportional Edit 



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Align Proportional Edit 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

Proportional Edit 

Mode: Edit Mode 
Hotkey: O / Alt O / Shift O 
Menu: Mesh Proportional Editing 



When working with dense geometry, it can become difficult to make subtle adjustments to the vertices 
without causing nasty lumps and creases in the model's surface. When you face situations like these, use the 
proportional editing tool. It acts like a magnet to smoothly deform the surface of the model, without creating 
lumps and creases, by also modifying unselected vertices within a given range, not just the selected vertices. 

Sculpting 

Blender offers a complete Sculpt Mode which contains a set of brushes and tools for proportionally editing a 
mesh without seeing the individual vertices. 



Options 

Proportional 

© Connected 

© On 

© Off 1 

|©T]a i| ^.i^\A 



Proportional Editing icon 

Falloff: 

,— , Constant No Falloff 
A Random Falloff 
j\ Linear Falloff 
Jv. Sharp Falloff 
/^ Root Falloff 
r\ Sphere Falloff 
J\ Smooth Falloff 
|A.|h:;>| [T|/|A]g 



Falloff menu. 

The Proportional Editing mode menu is available in Edit Mode on the 3D View header 

Off 

O. Proportional Editing is Off, only selected vertices will be affected. 
On 

O or Alt O. Vertices other than the selected vertex are affected, within a defined radius. 

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Proportional Edit 



Connected 

Alt O. Rather than using a radius only, the proportional falloff propagates through connected 
geometry. This means that you can easily proportionally edit the vertices in a finger of a hand, 
without affecting the other fingers, since although the other vertices are nearby spatially, they are far 
away following the topological edge connections of the mesh. The icon will be cleared, (grey), in the 
center when Connected is active. 



Falloff 



While you are editing, you can can change the curve profile used by either using the Mesh 
Proportional Falloff submenu, using the toolbar icon Fallojf Menu, or by pressing Shift O to toggle 
between the various options. 




Root Falloff. 



Sphere Falloff. 




Smooth Falloff. 




Influence circle. 

Influence 

You can increase or decrease the radius of the proportional editing influence with the mouse wheel 



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Examples 



MW '3 or Page Up and Page Down respectively. As you change the radius, the points surrounding 
your selection will adjust their positions accordingly. 



Examples 

Switch to a front view (NumPad 1) and activate the grab tool with G. As you drag the point upwards, notice 
how nearby vertices are dragged along with it. When you are satisfied with the placement, press LMB B to fix 
the position. If you are not satisfied, cancel the operation and revert your mesh to the way it looked before 
with RMB L^ or Esc key. 

You can use the proportional editing tool to produce great effects with the scaling (S) and rotation (R) tools, 
as A landscape obtained via Proportional Editing shows. 




A landscape obtained via Proportional Editing 

Combine these techniques with vertex painting to create fantastic landscapes. Final rendered landscape shows 
the results of proportional editing after the application of textures and lighting. 




Final rendered landscape 



Previous: Manual/Pivot Points 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Transform Orientations 



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Align Transform Orientations 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Transform Orientations 

Mode: Object Mode, Edit Mode 
Hotkey: Alt Space 

A secondary orientation can be selected with Alt Space or through the Orientation menu in a 3D view header. 





Orientation 


k 


View 
Normal 


1 


Local 1 




Global 


Jik 


Global l^ 



This orientation can then be used as a transformation constraint. 

Axis Locl<ing 

Mode: Object Mode, Edit Mode 
Hotkey: XX, YY, ZZ 

Pressing the axis locking key twice locks to the user selected transform orientation. 

Plane Locl<ing 

Mode: Object Mode, Edit Mode 

Hotkey: Shift XShift X, Shift YShift Y, Shift ZShift Z 



The same principle applies to locking movement on a plane. Press the plane locking keys twice to lock to your 
selected transform orientation. 



Custom Orientations 

Mode: Object Mode, Edit Mode 
Hotkey: Shift Ctrl C 

Custom Transform Orientations can be defined by the user using Object or Mesh elements. Custom Transform 
Orientations defined from objects use the local orientation of the object whereas those defined from selected 
mesh elements (vertice, edges, faces) use the normal orientation of the selection. 

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Transform Orientations Panel 



A name also needs to be assigned to the new orientation. 

Note: When adding new orientations, if the name correspond to an already existing custom orientation, the 
new orientation will replace the old one. 

[Demo Videol (XviD) 

[Bits of Blenderl 's has a video tutorial on this topic: [ Youtube linkl 



Transform Orientations Panel 

The Transform Orientations Panel, available from the *View* menu, can be used to manage Transform 
Orientations: Selecting the active orientation. Adding and Removing custom orientations and Clearing all 
custom orientations. 




f'^ObjectMode 'L^llJi^ jl^-fci I Global '1 



Orientation 



)t T Transform Orientations 



r |Local| 
[ Cube 
Camera 



( Add I Ciear ] 
I Local I Nor | View 



X"^ Object M .ode_^l.(0~) ( fl | ) 

I 

Add I Ciear 




Object tvlode ') [§j) ( fl -|r°) fci|cLibe -) Q 



Previous: Manual/Proportional Edit 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Transform Properties 



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Transform Properties Panel 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Transform Properties Panel 

Mode: Edit or Object mode 

Hotkey: N 

Menu: Object ? Transform Properties 



The Transform Properties popup panel is a modeless dialog meaning it can continue to be visible while you 
perform other activities. The dialog is actively updated. For example, as you rotate an object the Rot fields are 
updated in realtime. 



Options 







OB: Cube | iFar: |1 




LoeX: 0.000 




RotX: 0.000 . 1 




LocV: 0.000 




RotV: 0.000 > J 




LocZ: 0.000 




RotZ: 0.000 - ■ 


■ 




- SealeX: 1 .000 


DimX: 2.000 '-| 


„ 


. ScaleV: 1 .000 


DimV: 2.000 1 




- ScaleZ: 1 .000 


DimZ: 2.000 , 1 




1 


Link Scale | 




1 



Transform Properties Panel (Object mode) 



OB 



Par 



The object's name. 



The name of the parenting object, if one is assigned. By entering in a name you are assigning a parent 

object. The name must match an existing object; if it doesn't then the name is erased from the field. 
LocX, LocY, LocZ 

The object's center location in global coordinates relative to the object's center, see example. 
RotX, RotY, RotZ 

The object's orientation relative to the object's center. 
ScaleX, ScaleY, ScaleZ 

The object's scale relative to the object's center. Each object (cube, sphere, etc), when created, has a 

scale of one blender unit outward on each side of center. To make the object bigger or smaller, you 

scale it in the desired dimension. 
DimX, DimY, DimZ 

The object's basic dimensions (in blender units) from one outside edge to another, as if measured with 

a ruler. For multi-faceted surfaces, these fields give the dimensions of a bounding box (think of a 

cardboard box) just big enough to hold the object. 
Link Scale 

If this toggle-button is activated the relation of the X, Y and Z values in the Scale- and the Dim 

Fields is always preserved. Changing one value will change all the others as well with the same 

multiplication-factor. 

Use this panel to either edit or display the object's transform properties such as position, rotation and/or 
scaling and this includes the object's name and parent assignment. These fields change the object's center and 



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Align Options 

then affects the aspect of all of its vertexes and faces. 

IPO Note: The values of the location, rotation, and scale can also be affected by an IPO keyframe; so if there 
are IPO keys assocated with the object, be sure to reset them after making changes in this panel, or your 
changes will be lost when the frame is changed (IPO keys override manually-set properties). 

Some fields have extra functionality or features, such as scroll regions. When attempting to edit these types of 
fields it is easier to use Shift LMB t] instead of just LMB '' '. After you have edited a field click outside of the 
field's edit area or click ENTER to confirm the changes; changes will be reflected in the display window 
immediately. To cancel hit ESC. 



Transform Properties Locking 

The locking feature of the Location, Rotation and Size fields allow you to control a transform property solely 
from the properties panel. Once a lock has been activated any other methods used for transformation are 
blocked. For example, if you locked the LocX field then you can't use the mouse to translate the object along 
the object's X axis. However, you can still translate it using the LocX edit field. Consider the locking feature 
as a rigid constraint only changeable from the panel. 

To lock a field click the padlock icon next to the field. The field is unlocked if the icon appears as (Ql), and it 
is locked if the icon appears as (H). 

For further descriptions of the other features of an edit field see The Interface section. 



Previous: Manual/Transform Orientations Contents Next: Manual/Scene Management 



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Planning Your Timeline Planning Your Timeline 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 



Scene Management Structure 



Scene management and library appending/linking is based on Blender's Library and Data System , so it is a 
good idea to read that manual page first if you're not familiar with the basics of that system. 

Blender can be used to create something as simple as a single scene or image, or scaled up to an entire movie. 
A movie is usually comprised of three acts: 

1. Introduction-Conflict 

2. Rising Tension 

3. Climax-Resolution 

Each act contains a few scenes; settings where the action happens. Each scene is shot on a set, stage or 
location. Each is set with props and backdrops. The scene is a set of action sequences where the actors act 
(hopefully convincingly). Each sequence, or shot, usually lasts a few seconds. 

Sequence shot 

Sometimes, a single shot lasts several minutes: its a "sequence shot", which might even be a complete scene 
on its own. Technique hard to master if you don't want your audience to fall asleep! 

A single Blender file is organized and set up to be able to contain an entire movie. Each blend file can contain 
multiple Scenes. A scene is a bunch of objects, organized into layers. As you progress through the creative 
process, you use a set of window screen layouts specifically designed to help you work efficiently through the 
creative process: model the objects and create the props, clothe the actors and dress the set (assign materials), 
define the action (animation), render the video, and produce the movie. You can tailor these screen layouts, 
and create custom layouts, to match your working preferences. 



Planning Your Timeline 



Shots within a scene are accomplished by moving a camera and/or actors through the scene for a few seconds. 
Time in Blender is measured in frames, and typical video has 25 or 30 frames per second (fps), and film is 24 
fps. For a five-second shot then, you allocate up to 150 frames for that shot (30 fps x 5 seconds). Giving 
yourself some wiggle-room, shot 2 would start at frame 250 and go from there. A one-minute movie set in a 
single scene for North America video broadcast (NTSC standard) would have a timeline that goes up to 1800 
final frames, and may be laid out over the course of 2500 frames. This timeline allows for cutting out 700 
frames, picking the best 1800 frames (30 fps x 60 seconds = 1800 frames) less transition time. 

Multiple Cameras 

You can have multiple cameras in a scene, used for different shots, and select which one is active when 
rendering the shot. 



Previous: Manual/Transform Properties Contents Next: Manual/Scene Creation 



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Working with Scenes 



Worl<ing with Scenes 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 



Current Screen Layout and Scene 

Scenes are a way to organize your work. Scenes can share objects, but they can, for example, differ from each 
other in their rendered resolution or their camera view. The current window layout and scene is shown in the 
User Preferences window header, usually shown at the top of your screen: 





lI^ 


V Fl> 


Add 


rimslini Gam* 


R*nd*f 


Mp 1^ 


|5R;2-Mode( 


\*>{- 


|5CE:5iBn» 


:X^^Hwnbli!nder.«g243 



User Information window header. A) Window type icon, B) Menu, C) Screen Layouts, D) Scenes, E) Version 
of Blender currently running (Click the Blender icon to the left to show splash screen) 

^ Expandable Images in Manual: 

Usually throughout this manual, if there is a little expanding icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the 
image, you may click it to see the image in a larger format. Also if when moving your mouse pointer 
over the image it changes shape to show the image can be clicked, this usually also means the image can 
be expanded/enlarged; Be aware that different wiki theme layouts can alter the location and appearance 
of the expand image indicator. 



Loading the Ul with File->Open 



Inside each Blend file. Blender saves the user interface layout - the arrangement of screen layouts. By default, 
this saved UI is loaded, over-riding any user defaults or current screen layouts that you have. If you want to 
work on the blend file using your current defaults, start a fresh Blender, then open the file selector (Fl). Turn 
off the "Load UI" button located in the file browser header, and then open the file. Blender will not disturb 
your current screen layout when it loads the new file. 



Working with Scenes 



Select a scene to work on by clicking on the up-down arrow next to the Scene name. Scenes and the objects 
they contain are generally specific to the project you are working on. However, they too can be saved in their 
current state to be re-used by pressing Ctrl U. They will then appear the next time Blender starts or when the 
user selects File->New. 

Blender comes with one default scene, which contains a camera, a lamp, and a box. How exciting. 



Adding a Scene 



Add scene 

Empty 

Link Objects 
Link ObData 
Fuli Copy 



Add scene popup menu 



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Working with Scenes Naming a Scene 

You can make a full copy of the current scene, start over with a blank slate, or create a scene that has links 
back to the current scene; objects will show up in the new scene, but will actually exist in the old one. Use this 
linking feature when, for example, the original scene contains the set, and the new scene is to contain the 
actors or props. 

Starting Over 

If you start with a new scene, be sure to add a camera and lights first. 

Scenes are listed alphabetically in the drop-down list. If you want them to appear in a different order, start 
them with a numerical ordinal, like "1-". The internal reference for a scene is the three-letter abbreviation 

"SCE". 

To add a scene, click on the scene list button, and select Add New. While you are adding a new scene, you 
have these options: 

Empty 

Create a completely empty scene. 
Link Objects 

All objects are linked to the new scene. The layer and selection flags of the Objects can be configured 

differently for each scene. 
Link ObData 

Duplicates objects only. ObData linked to the objects, e.g. mesh and curve, are not duplicated. 
Full Copy 

Everything is duplicated. 

Usually, for your first scene, you make a full copy of the default. Alternatively, you can just start with the 
default, and start editing the cube that is usually hanging around waiting for you to do creative things. Get 
Blending! 



Naming a Scene 

By Shift LMB - clicking on the Scene Name (usually Scene. 001), you can change the name of the scene. For 
example, "BoyMeetsGirl" is usually the first of three acts. 

You then proceed to model the props and objects in the scene using the 2-Model window layout. 



Linking to a Scene 



You can, at any moment, link any object from one scene to another. Just open the scene where these objects 
are, use Ctrl L > To Scene... and chose the scene where you want your objects to appear. Those will be linked 
to the original objects; to make them single user (independant, unlinked...) in a given scene go to that scene, 
select them and use U. You will be presented with a few options that allow you to free up the datablocks 
(Object, Material, Texture...) that you want. 



Removing a scene from the file 

You can delete the current scene by clicking the X next to the name. 

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Working with Scenes Naming a Scene 



Previous: Manual/Scene Management Contents Next: Manual/The Outliner 



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Working with Scenes 



Outliner window 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 



Outliner window 



Description 

The Outliner Window is used for easily navigating a complex scene. There are two views, the Outliner view 
and the OOPS Schematic view. The OOPS Schematic and Outliner give you a 2d representation of your 
complicated 3d world. Use these views to find things in your scene. 

For example, suppose you sneeze while moving an object; your mouse flies off your desk (gezhundeit!) and 
the object is hurled somewhere off screen into space. Simply use the schematic/outliner to find it; select it, and 
move back to your 3d window to snap your cursor to it and then move it back. 

Another more practical example is to evaluate the impact of a change on related datablocks. Suppose you are 
looking at your TableTop object, and it doesn't look right; the Wood material doesn't look right; you want it to 
look more like mahogany. Since the same material can be used by many meshes, you're not sure how many 
things will change color when you change the material. Using the OOPS Schematic, you could find that 
material and trace the links that it has to every mesh in your scene. 



OutI 


ner view 






T^Q Scene ^^^^^^ 


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TE RenderLayers 


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T^JWDDd 


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The Outliner window in list mode. 

The Outliner is a kind of list that organizes related things to each other. In the Outliner, you can: 

• View the data in the scene 

• Select and deselect Objects in the scene 

• Hide or show an object in the scene 

• Enable or disable selection (to make an object "unselectable" in the 3D Window) 

• Enable or disable the rendering of an object 

• Select data like materials and textures directly (they show up automatically in the Buttons Window!) 

• Delete objects from the scene 



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Working with Scenes Description 

• Unlink data (equivalent to pressing the "X" button next to the name of a datablock) 

• Easily select which RenderLayer to render 

• Easily select which render pass to render (for example, you can choose to render just the Specular 
layer). 



OOPS Schematic view 




The OOPS schematic view in the Outliner window. 

The OOPS schematic is a kind of picture that shows how things are linked together. OOPS is a highly geeky 
term for Object-Oriented Programming System. Yeah, right. I think someone just spilled coffee on their 
keyboard late one night and this was the first word that came to their mind ;) In the OOPS view, you can: 

• Look at relationships between objects (for example, which objects use the same texture) 

The main difference is that the OOPS schematic shows you all available things (datablocks) in your blend 
file, organized by type of thing: scenes at the bottom, objects in the middle, materials toward the top. The 
Outliner shows you things in use within your blend file, organized by parent object with their children as 
indents. 



Selecting the Outliner Window Type 



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Working with Scenes 



Description 



window type: 
^ Scripts Window 
(^ File Browser 
^ image Browser 
^ Node Editor 
§ Buttons Window 

I User Preference 

g] TeKt Editor 
V* Audio Window 
1^') Timeline 

S Video Sequence Editor 
Q] UV/lmage Editor 
^ NLA Editor 
^ Action Editor 
IVj ipo Curve Editor 
^ 3D View 
|=fff :| "y View Select Object 



'fE 



^ Panels [q^S J ^ 



Turn a window into an Outliner window type by using the Window Type menu. 



V^ Q Scene ^^^^^^| 


■ 


■ 




T lil RenderLayera 


■ 


■ 




►■S 1 Renderi-ayer 


^ 


^ 




©Worid 






' 


^ti Camera 


<m 


t^ ^ 




<J Camera 






^ 


>- ti Lamp 


m> 


k\ii 




^Spot 




k E: 


^ 


f-VL 


m> 




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T(J Wood 






SI Noise 






gj Wood grain 








■■ t: LegZ ■ A 


'X> k \i^ 




' tiLeg3 . A 


■a> 


^ Q 




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l^^-'bl Table I^^J^^ 


^ <■> i;^ B 



The Outliner window in list mode. 



Choose a window and click on its current Window Type button (left-most icon in its header), and select 
Outliner. 

Switch between the Outliner view and the OOPS Schematic view using the menu item View Show OOPS 
Schematic or View Show Outliner. 



Window size 

Choose or arrange a window size that suits the view you are going to work with. The OOPS Schematic needs 
a wide window, and the Outliner needs a tall, narrow window. 



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197 



Working with Scenes Using the Outliner view 



Using the Outliner view 



Each row in the Outhner view shows a datablock. You can click the down-arrow to the left of a name to 
expand the current datablock and see what other datablocks it contains. 

You can select datablocks in the Outliner, but this won't necessarily select the datablock in the scene. To 
select the datablock in the scene, you have to activate the datablock. 



Selecting and activating 



Single selection doesn't require any pre-selection: just work directly with LMB ^-^ and/or RMB '--5 inside the 
name/icon area. 




Toggling selection of a datablock. 

• Toggle pre-selection of a group of datablock 

Useful when you want to select/deselect a whole bunch of datablocks. For this you must prepare the 

selection using, to your liking: 

RMB '-^ or LMB ^4 

Shift RMB ll^ or Shift LMB Q 

RMB 'J and drag or LMB ^ and drag 

all outside the name/icon area. 

You then confirm with a RMB "J on the name/icon area to bring on a dialog. 



When you select an object in the list,l it is selected and becomes the active object in all other 3D View 
window panes. Use this feature to find objects in your 3D View; select them in the outliner, then snap and 
center your cursor on them via Shift S->Cursor to Selection, and then C 



ti Camera <? 

TAcKbe 

T^fi^aterial 
SI Tex 

Click LMB t) on the mesh data of the cube to activate Edit Mode. 

• Activate the datablock with LMB ^- on the icon or the name of the datablock. Activating the 
datablock will automatically switch to the relevant mode or Buttons context. For example, activating 
the mesh data of the cube will select the cube and enter Edit Mode (see right). Another example is that 
activating the material datablock for the cube will show the material in the Material context of the 
Buttons window. 

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Working with Scenes 



Toggling object-level restrictions 




Context menu for the Cube object. 

• Show the context menu for a datablock with RMB 3 on the icon or name. Depending on the type of 
datablock, you will have the following options {Note: some datablock types will not have a context 
menu at all): 

♦ Select 

♦ Deselect 

♦ Delete 

♦ Unhnk 

♦ Make Local 

• Delete selected datablocks with X. 

• Expand one level with NumPad +. 

• Collapse one level with NumPad -. 

• Collapse/Expand all levels with A 



Toggling object-level restrictions 





i 




i 



Icons for toggling 

The following options are only available for objects: 

• Toggle visibility by clicking the 'eye' icon for the object on the right-hand side of the Outliner. 
Useful for complex scenes when you don't want to assign the object to another layer. This will only 
work on visible layers - an object on an invisible layer will still be invisible regardless of what the 
Outliner says. V will toggle this property for any objects that are selected in the Outliner. 

• Toggle selectability by clicking the 'arrow' icon. This is useful for if you have placed something in 
the scene and don't want to accidentally select it when working on something else. S will toggle this 
property for any objects that are selected in the Outliner. 

• Toggle rendering by clicking the 'camera' icon. This will still keep the object 

visibile in the scene. It will be ignored by the Renderer. R will toggle this property for any objects that are 
selected in the Outliner. 



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199 



Working with Scenes Searching 

Searching 

You can search the file for datablocks, either by using the Search menu in the header of the Outliner, or by 
using one of the following hotkeys: 

• Shift F - Find again 

• Ctrl Alt F - Find complete (case sensitive) 

• Alt F - Find complete 

• Ctrl F - Find (case sensitive) 

• F - Find 

Matching datablocks will be automatically selected. 



Filtering the display 



Outliner Display 

Active 
Selected 
Same Types 
Groups 

Visible Layers 
Current Scene 
Aii Scenes 



Outliner Display dropdown 

The window header has a field to let you select what the outliner should show in the outline. By default, the 
outliner shows All Scenes. You can select to show only the current scene, datablocks that have been selected, 
objects that are on currently selected layers, etc. These selects are to help you narrow the list of objects so that 
you can find things quickly and easily. 

• All Scenes - Shows everything the outliner can display (in all scenes, all layers, etc..) 

• Current Scene - Shows everything in the current scene. 

• Visible Layers - Shows everything on the visible (currently selected) layers in the current Scene. Use 
the Layers buttons to make objects on a layer visible in the 3D window. 

• Groups - Lists only Groups and their members. 

• Same Types - Lists only those objects in the current scene that are of the same types as those 
selected in the 3d window. 

• Selected - Lists only the object(s) currently selected in the 3D window. You can select multiple 
objects by Shift RMB '--^ 

• Active - Lists only the last selected object. 



Example 



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Working with Scenes 



Using the OOPS Schematic 



WHiirRatchet'Jn Middle 
<'"■ World 



,J 



I '^Camera I '■%;<? 'fcl 

— tCErnpty 

l-^HandleFixed I ^ -0 t^ t^ 
I --^t Lamp f '-^ 
I --^C Plane. 004 A 
1. ratchetgear 

^ OblpD.OOl 
► A circle 1 ,' 
tHandleFixed.002 
^ Oblpo.005 
A Plane. 006 



+-^ Plane. 003 

^ Oblpci.002 
► A piane.004 J 
i-4a.Plane.002 

A Plane. 003 
I »-4i wrench handle ! A t^ t^ 
|M*3 Ratchet on Outside 
p-S3 Ratchet Out white 

r^° '] V view [aII Scenes 



The Outliner window in list mode. 



The outline example shows that the blend file has three scenes: Ratchet in Middle, Ratchet on Outside, and 
Ratchet Out White. By clicking on the little arrow to the left of the name, the outline is expanded one level. 
This was done for the Ratchet in Middle scene. As you can see, this scene has some world material settings, a 
Camera, an Empty, a HandelFixed object ... all objects that were added to the scene. 

By clicking the arrow next to ratchetgear, we can see that it has some motion described by the Oblpo.OOl 
curve; that it was based on a Circle mesh, and that it is the parent of HandleFixed.002. HandleFixed is in turn 
the parent of Plane. 003, and so on. 

The neat thing is: If you select any of these datablocks here, they will be selected in the 3d Window as well as 
far as this is possible. Pressing * on your keypad with your mouse cursor in any 3D Window will center the 
view to that object. Very handy. Also, pressing X will delete it, as well as all the other hotkeys that operate on 
the currently selected object. 



Using the OOPS Schematic 
Layout of the OOPS Schematic 

In this view, the window has a clear background that, by default, shows the OOPS Schematic and a header: 



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201 



Working with Scenes 



IVIaking sense of the OOPS Schematic 




View Select Block i ^+ |"j-- j [Layer |B |t4..| jt | J 



^ d ■! .^ ; l.i J OBCamera 



Outliner Window in OOPS Schematic mode 

A) OOPS Schematic, B) Menu, C) Zoom, D) Display Select, E) Currently selected datablock 

The OOPS Schematic window & header have the following areas: 

A) The schematic picture 

B) Menus with the basic functions: View, Select, and Block 

C) A zoom control that allows you to focus on a certain area of the schematic. 

D) Visible Select - A number of buttons that toggle what kinds of datablocks are displayed in the 
schematic. 

E) The name of the currently selected datablock. The datablock is also highlighted in the OOPS 
schematic. (A) 



Making sense of the OOPS Schematic 

The schematic is a sort of map that shows the connections between datablocks. Each datablock is shown as a 
colored box. Boxes (datablocks) are connected by lines. Common types of connections between datablocks 
are: 

Parents 

One datablock, let's say an object called "TableTop", is held up by four other objects "leg. 001", 
leg.002", etc. The TableTop would be the parent of each of the legs, so that as the table top moves, the 
legs move as well. In the schematic, four lines would be shown going from the TableTop to each of 
the Legs. 

Material Use 

Datablock can share the same material. In our Table example, the TableTop and each of the legs 
might share the same material, "Wood", so that they all look the same. In the schematic, there would 
be a box called "Wood" with five hnes connecting it to each of the mesh datablocks TableTop, 
Leg.OOl, Leg.002, Leg.003 and Leg.004. 

The schematic uses different colored boxes for each type of datablocks: green for scenes, grey for objects, 
taupe for text, sea green for materials, etc. to help you visually distinguish between types of datablocks. 



The OOPS Schematic IHeader 



View 



Select 



Block 



Handy functions include switching between the schematic and outliner view. Also, you can change 
the size of the boxes, so more can fit in the window. 

Key functions include finding users and links between connected boxes, as indicated in the useage 
examples previously. 



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Working with Scenes 



Datablocl<s 



Scales (S) the distance between multiple selected datablocks, and grabs/moves (G) an datablock or set 
of selected datablocks around the schematic - very useful for arranging and organizing your 
schematic. 
Zoom controls 

As you can imagine, depending on what you have selected and your scene complexity, these 
schematics can start looking like the piping diagram for a nuclear powerjglant. The schematic header 



provides two buttons to help you zoom in. Hold down LMB -' over the 



button and move your 
to start a 



mouse up and down (forward and backward) to zoom your view in and out. Click on 

border select. Select a region in the window, and your window view will be zoomed to that region. 

Standard Window Controls 

The window, like any Blender window, can be panned by clicking the middle mouse button while your cursor 
is in the window, and moving the mouse. 



Visible Select 

The series of icons in the header allow you to select what type(s) of datablocks are visible in the 
schemat ic. Th ey are, left to right: 





y 



ti 



Layer I - Only show the datablocks from the shown layers. 



Scenes - Your stage, a set, where action occurs. 



Objects - Cameras, empties, and other misc items 

Meshes - The main things you model, not to be confused with Objects, e.g. One Mesh can 



3e used in multiple objects and is displayed accordingly in the schematic. 
-5 Curves . Surfaces, Fonts 



^ 



3 



m 



jjj 



Metaballs - Mathematically calculated meshes that can mush together. 
Lattices - Deformation grids 



Lamps - All types of lights. 
Materials - Colors, paints. 



Textures - Color maps or gradients used commionly in materials and other places. 



Ipos - Actions, 



Images - Imported pictures 
Libraries - Collections of Objects 



Datablocks 

The base unit for any blender project is the datablock. The datablocks and the ways those are linked together 
are all there is to it, may it be a simple still image of a sphere floating over a plane or a full featured film. 
These datablocks can reside within as many files as needed for the good organization of the project. 



Scene Datablock 

Each "scene datablock" contains a scene. "Scene datablock" is the parent of the rest datablocks. 



Object Datablock 

Each "object datablock" has the properties of Scale, Location and Rotation and is the 'meeting place' for other 
datablock that define the other properties of that object when they are linked to it. An object can be linked to 
other datablock that determine its nature: mesh, curve, camera, lamp or armature datablock are a few 



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203 



Working with Scenes ObData Datablocks 

examples of such datablocks. Other datablocks, will define the material, the texture, the animation... for that 
object. 

ObData Datablocks 

These datablocks are such datablocks that are always connected to "Object datablock" in a way or another. 

Curve Datablock 

"Curve datablock" may contain NURBS curves or circles, Bezier curves or circles, or Text objects. It may 
also be linked to a "material datablock". 

Camera Datablock 

"Camera datablock" contains a camera. 

Lattice Datablock 

"Lattice datablock" contains a lattice. 

Lamp Datablock 

"Lamp datablock" contains a lamp. 

Metaball Datablock 

"Metaball datablock" contains a metaball. 

Mesh Datablock 

Each "mesh datablock" contains a mesh. "Mesh datablock" may contain link to one or more "material 
datablocks". 

Material Datablock 

"Material datablock" contains a material. It may contain links to "texture datablocks". 

Note that "material datablocks" can be linked to "object datablock" instead if desired. You can set this in the 
"User Preferences" window below "Edit Methods". 

Texture Datablock 

"Texture datablock" contains a procedural or image texture. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 204 



Working with Scenes Copying and Linking Datablocks 

Copying and Linking Databloci^s 

It is possible to copy object and scene datablocks. 



Copying and Linking Scene Datablock 

To copy scene datablock, use Scene list found in the header of "User Preferences" window. The list is to the 
right of the menus and window workspace list. Select "ADD NEW" to make a copy of the current scene. 
Select "Full Copy" from the list that opened to make a copy. The current scene will be copied to the new 
scene. 

Instead of copying everything, you can link datablocks by selecting "Link Objects" or "Link ObData" on the 
list (the former copying the objects, but not their ObDatas - meshes, curves, materials, etc.). Note that if you 
select "Link Objects", it means that the objects are Unked on deeper level as Object Datablock is parent of 
ObData datablock. So for instance if you move an object, the move is reflected to other scenes linked this way 
as well. 



Copying and Linking Object Datablocks 

• Shift D is used to make normal copy of the selected objects: 

♦ The object and some of it's child datablocks will really be duplicated, the other children are 
just linked; you can define the attributes to be duplicated in User Preferences Edit Methods, 
button group Duplicate with object:. 

• Alt D makes a linked copy: 

♦ All datablocks but the object one are linked. 



Copying and Linking otiier Datablocks 

You can see a number next to the name of a datablock. This number indicated the number of links. If you 
click the number, it removes the link to the datablock and creates a new copy. 



Previous: Manual/Scene Creation Contents Next: Manual/Using Linked Libraries 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 205 



Linked Libraries Overview 



Linked Libraries Overview 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.46 



Linked Libraries Overview 

Blender is able to "reach in" to other .blend files and pull in whatever you want. In this way, Blender supports 
reuse of your graphical models. For example, if you have a library .blend file that has a really neat Material 
used in it, you can, from your current .blend file. Append that Material into your current .blend file. This saves 
you from manually re-creating all the different settings. 



General Procedure 

Mode: All Modes 

Hotkey: Shift Fl 

Menu: File Append or Link 

The main menu in Blender is located in the User Preferences window (by default the header located at the top 
of your screen). From that menu, all you have to do is use File -> Append or Link or press Shift Fl in your 
active window. The active window will change to a File Browser (the Window type icon looks like a manilla 
folder) selector window. Use this window to navigate your hard drive and network-mapped drives through 
folders and subfolders to find the .blend file that has the object you want to reuse. When you click on a .blend 
file (indicated by the square box next to the name). Blender will go into that file and show you the list of 
datablock types within it: Scenes, Objects, Materials, Textures, Meshes, etc. Clicking on any one of them will 
display the specific instances of that type. 



Folder and File Organization 

We suggest creating a folder called /lib or /library. Under that library, create a set of folders for each kind of 
thing you might want to access and re-use later on, such as Materials, Textures and Meshes. Create 
subfolders under each of those as your library grows. For example, under the Meshes folder, you might want 
to create folders for People, Spaceships, Furniture, Buildings, etc. Then, when you have a .blend file that 
contains a chair mesh, for example, all you have to do is copy that file into the Furniture folder. 



Appending library objects into your current project 

The following procedure appends an object with all its linked data, such as mesh data, materials, texture etc., 
to the current .blend file. 

• Select File -> Append or Link 

• Locate and select the file that contains the object you want to append (often a 'library' file). 

• Navigate to the OBJECT section of the file 

• Select one object from the list using LMB B, multiple objects via RMB H and/or a range of objects 
by dragging RMB '^-? 

• Repeat the above for each kind of object you wish to append or link. Parents and Armatures (all 
modifier objects) must be selected separately. 

• Set desired options that are shown in the header (to cursor, to active layer) 

• LMB '-1 on Load Library or press Enter or MMB '-' directly on the data to append 



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206 



Linked Libraries Overview Reusing Objects (IVIeshes, Curves, Cameras, Lights, etc) 

Of course, you can append or link many other things besides objects: cameras, curves, groups, lamps, 
materials, meshes, an entire scene, etc. Note that there is a BIG difference between adding the Object and the 
type of object, such as Mesh. If you append a Mesh datablock, you are only bringing in the data about that 
particular type of Mesh, and not and actual instance of the Mesh that you can see. 

Use Append (button enabled by default) if you want to make a local independent copy of the object inside 
your file. Select Link if you want a dynamic link made to the source file; if anyone changes the object in the 
source file, your current file will be updated the next time you open it. These buttons are located in the File 
Browser window header. 

Click Load Library to append or link the object into your current blend file. 

Some more loading option buttons (in the File Browser header) include: 

• AutoSel: 

♦ When an object is loaded, it is not active or selected; it just plops into your .blend file. Often, 
right after loading, you will want to do something with it, like scale it or move it. Enable this 
button and the imported object will be selected, just as if you magically right-clicked on it. 
This button saves the step of finding the object and selecting it. 

• Active Layer: 

♦ Blender has 20 layers to divide up a large scene, and each object resides on some layer. By 
default, an object is loaded into your file directly into the layer it resides on in the source file. 
To load the object to the current active layer that you are working on, enable this button. 

• At Cursor: 

♦ By default, an object is loaded into your file at the location it is at in the source file. To 
reposition the object to your cursor when it loads, enable this button. 



<? 



Finding What was Loaded: 

If the loaded object is not visible, consider using At Cursor or AutoSel. If you use AutoSel, remember 
there are Snap tools to put your cursor on the object (Shift S4 (Cursor to Selection)), and Center your 
view on it (C (Center View to Cursor)). Note that these tools do not work if the object is on an 
unselected layer, since objects on unselected Layers are invisible. 

Reusing Objects (Meshes, Curves, Cameras, Lights, etc) 

Let's suppose you created a wheel in one .blend file and want to reuse it for your current project. The physical 
model of the wheel would be a mesh, and probably comprised of a tire and rim. Hopefully you named this 
mesh something reasonable, like, oh, I don't know, "Wheel". The wheel may be colored and thus have some 
Materials assigned to it (like rubber and chrome). 

Once you navigate to the file, select the "Wheel" and it will be imported into your current file. You can import 
a copy of it, or merely link to it. 

Linking: If you link to it, and later modify it in the source file, it will be shown "as-is" (modified) in your 
current file the next time you open it up. 

Other artists have released their models to the pubUc domain, and friends may share models simply by posting 
or emailing their .blend files to each other. Keeping these files, as well as your past projects, in a Download 
directory on your PC/server will save you from ever having to reinvent the wheel. 

When selected, linked objects are outlined in Cyan. Normal selected objects are outlined in pink. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 207 



Linked Libraries Overview 



Reusing IVIaterial/Texture Settings 



Notice that you cannot move a linked object! It resides at the same position it has in the source file. To 
move/scale/rotate the object, turn it into a Proxy . 



^ Using Appended/Linked Mesh Data: 




When Appending or Linking certain resources such as mesh data, it may not be instantly visible in the 
3D Viewport. This is because the data has been loaded into Blender but has not been assigned to an 
Object, which would allow it to be seen. You can verify this by looking in the Outliner View and 
switching it to OOPS Schematic view (you may need to have the Displays Scene datablock button 
selected in the OOPS Schematic Header menu). In the OOPS Schematic picture you can see that Wheel 
is not linked to an Object. 





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To allow the newly loaded Wheel mesh to be assigned to an Object, either select a currently visible 
object or create a new object (such as a cube), then goto the Link and Materials panel and select the 
Wheel mesh from the mesh drop down panel, at that point you should see the Wheel mesh, because it's 
been assigned to an object. 



If instead of Appending/Linking to a mesh you instead load the object into Blender, it should be 
instantly displayed in the 3D Viewport without having to associate an object with the mesh using the 
Link and Materials panel. 



Reusing Material/Texture Settings 



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208 



Linked Libraries Overview 



Reusing Node Layouts 



OlM 




Fll^ Add TlmAna 4jDriid Hamnf CHl^ 



\ Load Library 



Some materials, like glass or chrome, can be very tricky to get "just right". The Blender Foundation has 
released, for example, a Materials CD . which is available for free to download from their site. Using the 
.blend files on that CD, you can import common materials, like glass, chrome, wood and bananas. This feature 
saves you a lot of time, as it often means you don't have to be fiddling with all the little buttons and sliders 
just to re-create a material. I call out the Banana material because it is a great example of using simple 
procedural materials with a ColorRamp, and a procedural texture, to give a very realistic look. When you 
navigate to the file, and select Materials, the browser will show you a sphere sample of that material to help 
you visualize the texture that goes with the name. For more information on using the image browser, see the 
release notes. 

Blender Extension: Library 

There is also a fantasic Python script called Blender Library that overarches all of your files and allows you 
to construct a master library. This script displays a preview and helps you organize your Blender work. 
Highly recommended; search www.blendernation.com for "Blender Library", it is also stored on the Blender 
Wiki Scripts section here . 



Reusing Node Layouts 

To reuse noodles (node layouts), open the original (source) file and create a Group for the set of nodes that 
you think you want to reuse. When you want to import that node group into your current file, select 
File-> Append from the User Preferences window header, and navigate to the file. When you dive into the 
file, there will be a NodeTree option. Click it and the list of node groups in that file will be listed. LMB U 
Click the one you want and then Load Library. 

[Verse] 

Verse is an amazing OpenSource collaboration tool that integrates with Blender. Verse enables multiple 
people to work on, link, and share objects and modifications in Blender files in real time. 



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209 



Linked Libraries Overview Proxy Objects 

Proxy Objects 

A proxy is a legal stand-in or substitute for the real thing. In Blender, when you make a linked copy 
(described above), you cannot edit the object; all you have is a link to it. You cannot add to it or change it, 
because its source is in another file that is not open. 

When working in a team environment, you may want more flexibility. For example, if modeling a car, you 
may have one person working on the shape of the car (its Mesh), but another working on available color 
schemes (its Materials). In this case, you want to grant the Painter a Proxy of the object and allow him/her to 
modify the material settings. More commonly, you will have a character being animated by a team of 
animators; they can define poses, but cannot change the character's colors or armature, only use what is 
defined by the master rigger. 

The important aspect of a Proxy Object is that it allows you to edit data locally, but also allows specific data 
to be kept protected. Data that's defined as protected will always be restored from the Library (typically on file 
reading or undo/redo steps). This protection is defined in the referenced Library itself, which means that only 
the Library files can define what's allowed to change locally. 

For Poses, you can control this by indicating Bone layers as being protected. A protected layer is shown with 
a black dot in it. Use CTRL+click on a button to protect or unprotect that layer. 

Mode: Object Mode 

Hotkey: Ctrl Ah P 

To make a Proxy object for yourself, establish a Link to the source object as described above. With that linked 
copy selected ( RMB '- and in view (you can see it in the 3D View), press Ctrl Alt P and confirm the Make 
Proxy dialog. The object will be named with the original name plus a "_proxy" suffix. You may now move 
and modify the proxy. When selected, it will look like a local object (outlined in pink). 

You can then edit unprotected data. For most objects, this includes the location and rotation. You can also 
animate the object's location and animation using Ipo Curves. For mesh objects, the shape of the mesh is 
protected, so you cannot define shape keys. When you reload your file, Blender will refresh your file with any 
changes made to the original protected data, but will not reset your changes (unless the owner has). 



Previous: Manual/The Outliner Contents Next: Manual/Modelling 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 210 



Modelling in Blender Modelling in Blender 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 



Modelling in Blender 



As you have seen in the Quick Start chapter, the creation of a 3D scene needs at least three key things: 
Models, Materials and Lights. In this Part we will delve deeper into the first of these issues Modelling. 
Modelling is the art and science of creating a surface that mimics the shape of a real-world object or fits your 
imagination of abstract objects. 

Objects come in many forms, shapes and sizes, so Blender has many different tools available to help you 
make your model quickly and efficiently: 

• Objects 

Working with objects as a whole 

• Meshes 

Working with the mesh that defines the shape of an object 

• Curves 

Using Curves to model and control objects 

• Surfaces 

Modeling a NURBS surface 

• Text 

Textual tools for putting words in 3D space 

• Meta Objects 

Globs and Globules 

• Dupliverts and Frames 

Duplicating Meshes 

• Modelling Scripts 

Since Blender functionality is extensible via Python, there are a number of very useful scripts 
that assist you in modelling. 

Many people use "box modelling" which starts with a basic cube, and proceeds with extmding and moving 
vertices to create a larger, more complicated mesh. For flat objects, like walls and table tops, you can use 
"curve modelling" which defines the outline using bezier or Nurbs curves, and then extrudes it to the desired 
thickness. Either method is fully supported in Blender using its modelling tools. 



Previous: Manual/Using Linked Libraries Contents Next: Manual/Objects 



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Object Mode Object Mode 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4 



Object Mode 




Selected object. 

The geometry of a scene is constructed from one or more Objects. For example Lamps, Curves, Surfaces, 
Cameras, Meshes, and the b asic objects descri bed in Basic Mesh Objects . Each object can be moved, rotated 



and scaled in Object Mode, | tl. Object Mode -| . For performing more detailed changes to the geometry, you 
can use Edit Mode . 

Once you've added a basic object (see Basic Mesh Modelling ), you are automatically switched into Edit Mode 
if the Object is a Mesh, a Curve or a Surface. You can switch back to Object Mode by pressing TAB. The 
object's wireframe, if any, should now appear pink, meaning that the object is now selected and active; see 
(Selected object.) 



Erase 

Mode: Edit or Object mode 
Hotkey: X or DEL 
Menu: Object af Delete 

Description 

Erases or deletes selected objects. 

Join 

Mode: Object mode 

Hotkey: Ctrl J 

Menu: Object af Join Objects 

Description 

Joins all selected objects to one single object. (The objects must be of the same type.) The center point of the 
resulting object is obtained from the previously active object. Performing a join is equivalent to adding new 
objects while in Edit mode. 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 212 



Object Mode Select Links 

Select Links 

Mode: Object mode 

Hotkey: Shift L 

Menu: Select af Select Linked 



Description 

Select all objects sharing a link with the active one. You can select objects sharing an IPO, data, material, or 
texture link (Selecting links.). 



Select Linked 

Object Ipo 

ObData 

Material 



Selecting links. 

• Object Ipo 

Selects object that share IPO information. 

• ObData 

Selects object that share data information. 

• Material 

Selects object that share Material information. 

• Texture 

Selects object that share Texture information. 



Previous: Manual/Modelling Contents Next: Manual/Selecting Objects 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 213 



Object Mode 



Introduction 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.45 



Introduction 

Selection, in almost any program, determines which elements will be the target of our actions. As such, the 
more adapted the selection tool is to the action intended the better. Tools and functions are in a great number 
in Blender and so are it's selection methods. 

What follows is a short description of the concepts and selection tools which are available in Object Mode. 



Selections and the Active Object 



Blender distinguishes between two different states of selection: 



• HE 




A) Selected Active Object, B) Selected Object, C) Unselected Object. Outlines have been thickened 
to make them easier to distinguish. 

In Object Mode the last selected item is called the "Active Object" and is outlined in pink (the others 
are purple). There is exactly one Active Object at any time (unless nothing is selected). 

Many actions in Blender use the Active Object as a reference, for example the boolean tools or linking 
operations. If you already have a selection and need to make a different object the active one, simply re-select 
it with Shift RMB t^. 

• AU other selected objects are just that, selected. You can select any number of objects. 



Point Selection 

The simplest form of object selection consist into using RMB '— on it. 

To add to the selection we use Shift RMB "- on more objects. 

If the objects are overlapping in the view we can use Alt RMB - to get a list of possible choices. 

If we want to add to a selection this way then the shortcut becomes ShiftAlt RMB "*. 

Activation of an object that is already selected is done with a Shift RMB '- click on it. 

Deselection is achieved by one Shift RMB '- on an active object and two such clicks if the object wasn't 
active. 



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214 



Object Mode 



Rectangular or Border Select 



Rectangular or Border Select 

Mode: Object mode 

Hotkey: B 

Menu: Select af Border Select 



Description 

With Border Select we draw a rectangle while holding down LMB ^ '. Any object that lies even partially 
within this rectangle becomes selected. 

For deselecting objects we use either of MMB - or RMB 3. 



Example 

In (Start) Border Select has been activated and is indicated by showing a dotted cross-hair cursor. In 
(Selecting), the selection region is being chosen by drawing a rectangle with the LMB K The rectangle is only 
covering cubes "A" and "B". Finally, by releasing LMB ^ the selection is complete; see (Complete). 




Start. 



Selecting. 



Complete. 



Notice in (Complete) the bright color of selected cube "B". This means it is the "Active Object", the last 
selected object prior to using the Border Select tool. 



Hints 

Border select adds to the previous selection, so in order to select only the contents of the rectangle, deselect all 
with A first. 



Lasso Select 

Mode: Object mode 
Hotkey: CTRL+ LMB K 
Menu: no entry in the menu 



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215 



Object Mode Description 

Description 

Lasso select is used by drawing a dotted line around the pivot point of the objects, in ObjectMode. 



Usage 

While holding CTRL down, we simply have to draw around the pivot point of each object we want to select 
with LMB ^1 

Lasso select adds to the previous selection. For deselection we use Shift Ctrl LMB B. 



Menu Selection 

The selection methods described above are the most common. There are also many more options accessible 
through the 'Select' menu of the 3D view or the 'Select' option of the SpaceBar menu. 
Each is more adapted to certain operations. 



Select Grouped 

Mode: Object mode 

Hotkey: Shift G 

Menu: Select af Grouped 



Description 

There are two ways to organize the objects in relation to one another. The first one is parenting, and the 
second simple grouping. 

We can take advantage of those relationships to select members of those families or of those groups. 



^^^^^1 


r 


Children 
Immediate Children 


Shift G, 1 
Shift G, Z 


Linked 


> 






Parent 

Siblings (Shared Parent) 
Objects of Same Type 
Objects on Shared Layers 
Objects in Same Group 
Object Hooks 


Shift G, 3 

Shift G, 4 

Shift G, 5 

Shift G, 6 

Shift G, 7 

Shift G, 8 
iiuuim rn-TTTTr, 


Select AN by Type 
Select All by Layer 


h 

► 


Inverse 




Select^Deseiect Ail 


A 


Border Select 


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Options for parented and grouped objects. 



Options 

Select Grouped in Object Mode uses the active object as a basis to select all others. 



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216 



Object Mode Select linked 

Available options are: 

• Children 

Selects all children of the active object recursively. 

• Immediate Children 

Selects all direct children of the active object. 

• Parent 

Selects the parent of this object if it has one. 

• Siblings (Shared Parents) 

Select objects that have the same parent as the active object. This can also be used to select all 
root level objects (objects with no parents). 

• Objects of Same Type 

Select objects that are the same type as the active. 

• Objects on Shared Layers 

Objects that have at least 1 shared layer. 

• Objects in Same Group 

Objects that are part of a group (rendered green with the default theme) will be selected if 
they are in one of the groups that the active object is in. 

• Object Hooks 

Every hook that belongs to the active object. 

Select linked 

Mode: Object mode 

Hotkey: Shift L 

Menu: Select af Linked 



Description 

Selects all objects which share a common datablock with the active object. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 217 



Object Mode 



Select linked 



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Options for objects which share a datablock. 

Options 

Select Linked in Object Mode uses the active object as a basis to select all others. 

Available options are: 

• Object Ipo 

Selects every object that is linked to the same Ipo datablock of the Object type. Any other 
type like Constraint, Pose, won't work. 



• ObData 



Selects every object that is linked to the same ObData, i.e. the datablock that specifies the 
type (mesh, curve, etc.) and the built (constitutive elements like vertices, control vertices, and 
where they are in space) of the object. 



• Material 



Selects every object that Unked to the same material datablock. 



• Texture 



Selects every object that Unked to the same texture datablock. 



Select All by Type 

Mode: Object mode 

Hotkey: ??? 

Menu: Select af Select All by Type 



Description 

The types are Mesh, Curve, Surface, Meta, Armature, Lattice, Text, Empty, Camera, Lamp. 
With this tool it becomes possible to select every visible object of a certain type in one go. 



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218 



Object Mode 



Select All by Type 



Grouped 
Linked 

Select All by Layer 
Inverse 
Select/Deselect All 

Border Select 




Object |tl,Object 



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Options for objects of one type. 

Options 

Select All by Type in Object Mode offers an option for every type of object that can be described by the 
ObData datablock. 

Just take your pick. 

Select All by Layer 

Mode: Object mode 

Hotkey: ??? 

Menu: Select af Select All by Layer 



Description 

Layers are another means to regroup our objects to suit our purpose. 

This option allows the selection of every single object that belongs to a given layer, visible or not, in one 
single command. This selection is added to anything that was already selected at that moment. 



Grouped 


> 




1 


I 


I 


^H 


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Linked 


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Select All by Type 


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Border Select 


B 




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Choice of one layer. 



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219 



Object Mode Select All by Layer 

Options 

We have the option of selecting the objects of one single layer at a time by LMB t] on it's number. This has to 
be repeated for each new layer. 

^ Selection of Objects: 

Rather than using the Select All by Layer option, it might be more efficient to make the needed layers 
visible and use A on them. This method also allows objects to be deselected. 



Other Menu Options 



Grouped 
Linked 






I 




I 




Select All by Type ^ ^H 


Select Al 1 by Layer ^ ^H 


1 




Kandom 
Inverse 


Ctrl 1^1 


1 




SelecVDeselect All "^^1 


1 




Border Select B^| 


■ 


^^^^ Object 


t^ Object Mode Z 



Options for parented and grouped objects. 
Available options on the first level of the menu are: 



• Random 



Randomly selects unselected objects based on percentage probability on currently active 
layers. On selecting the command a numerical selection box is displayed for the user to select 
the percentage chance that an object will be selected. 



< Pementagei 50 > ] Ok] 



Random Select Percentage. 

It's important to note that the percentage represents the likelyhood of an unselected object 
being selected and not the percentage amount of objects that will be selected. 

• Inverse 

Selects all objects that were not selected while deselecting all those which were. 

• Select/Deselect AU 

If anything was selected it is first deselected. Otherwise it toggles between selecting and 
deselecting every visible object. 

• Border Select 

As described above in the section on border select. 



Previous: Manual/Objects Contents Next: Manual/Editing Objects 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 220 



Object Mode Moving (translating) objects 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Moving (translating) objects 

There are two ways to move or translate an object: moving it by itself, or moving it relative to something else. 

Moving Object(s) Individually 

Mode: Object mode 

Hotkey: G or Gesture 

Menu: Object af Transform af Grab/Move (or Grab/Move on Axis for constraints) 



Description 




Grab mode. 

To translate an object is to place an object in Grab mode. The selected objects will be displayed as white 
wireframes and can be moved with the mouse (without pressing any mouse buttons); see (Grab mode) or 
keyboard arrow keys. 

To confirm the new position, click LMB ^~' or press ENTER; to cancel Grab mode, click RMB - or press 
ESC. The header of the 3D Window displays the distance you are moving. 



Options 



Axis constraint 



Z axis 


W-Yaxis 




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Xaxis 



Global axes. 
Note 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 221 



Object Mode Moving Object(s) Individually 

For this section, and it sub sections, please reference (Global axes). 

Movement can be constrained to an axis that is aligned with one of the axes of the global coordinate system, 
centered on the object's original world location. The cube "B"'s original world location is labeled "C". The 
center of the global coordinate system is labeled "W"; the Z axis is not visible. 

By constraining movement to a global axis you are, in effect, restricting movement to one dimension. 

The global aligned axes are color coded as follows: 

• X axis is dark red. Labeled "X axis". 

• Y axis is dark green. Labeled "W-Y axis". 

• Z axis is dark blue. Labeled "Z axis". 

The restricted axis is always highlighted in a lighter shade of color. For example, the Y axis is drawn in light 
green if movement is constrained to the Y axis; labeled "Y axis". 

There are two ways to constrain movement: using the mouse or using the keyboard. 

Using the mouse 

To lock or constrain movement using the mouse, enter Grab mode and move the object while pressing MMB 
— . While in Grab mode you can use the Gesture System to pre-select an axis by moving the mouse in a 
direction roughly inline with a world axis and then clicking and releasing MMB - . For example, if you move 
the mouse along what visually appears to be the X axis and then click and release MMB O the object's 
movement will be restricted to the world X axis. 

Alternately, you can interactively choose the constraining axis by dragging with the MMB '* while in Grab 
mode. All three axes become visible with a guide line that emanates from the object's original location; 
labeled "C". This guide is drawn in white dotted line labeled "S". As the guide line nears an axis that axis 
becomes highlighted in a lighter shade and the object snaps to that axis. In this example the guide line is near 
the Y axis and the cube, labeled "B", snaps to it. 

If you keep CTRL pressed while moving the object you will activate Snap mode, and the object will move by 
a whole number of units (grid squares). Snap mode ends when you release CTRL so be sure to confirm the 
position before releasing it. For finer snapping you can hold both CTRL and SHIFT. 

You can control positioning to a finer degree by holding SHIFT while you move. Large mouse movements 
will translate into very small object movements, which allows for finer positioning. 

The location of selected objects can be reset to the default value by pressing Alt G. The default location is the 
origin of the global coordinate system. 



Using tlie Jteyboard 

You can constrain movement to a given axis by pressing either X, Y or Z. A single key press constrains 
movement to the corresponding global axis (Global Constraint), as MMB t-' does. A second keypress of the 
same key constrains movement to the corresponding Object local axis (Local Constraint) and a third keypress 
of the same key removes constraints, (No Constraint). The constrained axis is drawn in a lighter color to better 
visualize the constraint. (Local Constraint) and (Global Constraint) are all examples of constraints on the X 
axis using the X key. 

Dk. -0.3125 Dy: -0.1 831 Dz: 0.1547 . D: -0.6295 along local X ^ D: -0.5466 a long global X 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 222 



Object Mode Moving Object(s) Individually 

No Constraint. Local Constraint. Global Constraint. 

Once grabbing is activated you can enter the Object translation manually by simply typing in a number. This 
will change the 3D window header as shown in (Manual entry). 



. Dx:1| Dy: NONE Ds: NONE 



Manual entry. 

The number entered is a distance number (i.e. how far from the object's current location). Think of the "D" as 
in displacement, delta or distance. The number entered is not a world coordinate. To change the object's world 
coordinates see Transform Properties Panel . 

By default the X component field is where entry initially goes; see field labelled "Dx" in {Manual entry). You 
can change the default by using the TAB prior to entering any numbers. For example, to translate 4.4 units 
along the Y axis you would: 

• Enter Grab mode. 

• TAB once. 

• Type 4.4. 

To translate 3.14 units on the Z axis you would use the TAB key twice prior to entering the numbers. 

Currently you can't delete an incorrect number. You must restart by returning to the original numbers. The 
BACKSPACE key will reset to the original values. Hit ENTER or SPACE to finalize and ESC to exit. If you 
want more flexibility with manual entry see Transform Properties Panel . 

It is also possible to enter a value followed by an axis letter to indicate that the value that is entered should be 
made along the specified axis letter. For example if you wanted to move an object along the y axis by 3 
Blender units you would type Gy3Enter or G3yEnter. You can also enter negative values to move in the 
opposite direction. 



Q 



3 Axis Coordinate/Displacement Entry using TAB: 

In entering X/Y/Z axis numbers at the keyboard, you can use the TAB to cycle through the XfY/Z fields 
that will be altered when a number is entered from the keyboard. It is important to realize that in cycling 
through the fields you can fill in each field with a different value as you cycle through them, you do not 
just have to fill in only one field. For example if you wanted to move an object by X 2 Y 3 Z 4, you 
would type G2 TAB 3 TAB4 ENTER 

As well as being able to constrain along a single specified axis, it is also possible to prevent axis 
translation/scaling along one axis, but allow translation/scaling along the other two axis; This is achieved by 
pressing either Shift X, Shift Y or Shift Z to prevent translation/scaling along the specified axis. So if you 
wished to scale an object on the X and Z axis's but not the Y axis you could type S Shift Y. 



Hints 

You can use the keyboard's "." and the numeric keypad's "." for decimals entry. Be aware that older versions 
of Blender may not allow the use of the numeric keypad's "." for entering decimals. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 223 



Object Mode Moving/Translating Object(s) by Changing Attributes 

Moving/Translating Object(s) by Changing Attributes 

Mode: Object mode 

Hotkey: Ctrl C 

Menu: Object af Copy Attributes af (select a set) 



Description 

Blender has a general purpose way of copying any active object's attributes to any number of other selected 
objects. If you copy one object's location attribute to another object, that second object will be "moved". 



Options 

The attributes that can be copied include: 

• Location 

• Rotation 

• Size 

• Drawtype 

• Time Offset 

• Dupli 

• Mass 

• Damping 

• Properties 

• Logic Bricks 

• Protected Transform 

• Object Constraints 

• NLA Strips 

• Texture Space 

• Subsurf Settings 

• Modifiers 

• Object Pass Index 

So, if you shift-select a cube and a cone, and then shift-select a lamp last (the lamp thus being the active 
object), and choose Ctrl C 1, the cube and the cone will be "moved" to the same location as the lamp. 



Rotating objects 



There are two ways of changing an object's rotation; individually, and by copying the rotation attribute from 
another object as described above. 

Mode: Object mode 

Hotkey: R or Gestures 

Menu: Object af Transform af Rotate / Rotate on Axis 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 224 



Object Mode Description 

Description 

Change the rotation by moving the mouse and confirming with LMB B or ENTER. You can cancel with RMB 
3 or ESC. 

Rotation in 3D space occurs around an axis, and there are several ways to define this axis. But in general an 
axis is defined by a direction line and a point that the line passes through. By default the axis is orthogonal to 
your screen (i.e. it is going into or out of your screen). If you are viewing the scene from the front, side, or top 
3D view windows, the rotation axis will be parallel to one of the global coordinate system axes. If you are 
viewing the scene from an angle, the rotation axis is angled too, which can easily lead to a very odd rotation 
of your object. In this case, you may want to keep the rotation axis parallel to the coordinate system axes. 



Examples 

As you rotate the object the angle of rotation is displayed in the 3D window header: 



Rot: 1.68 

k 



Options 



Axis of rotation Constraint 

Just like Grab mode you can constrain the axis of rotation by using either the mouse or the keyboard. The only 
difference is that you only enter an angle. See Grab mode's Axis constraint for exact details. 



Point of rotation 



Pivot: 

+ Active Object 

1* Individual Centers 

■^ 3D Cursor 

ffl Median Point 

Q Bounding Box Center 

I fl :|°."| 1^1 Global t|F 

Pivot menu 

To select the point-of-rotation that the rotation axis will pass through, use the Rotation/Scaling button 



accessed in the header of the 3D window, |ffl '| . This will display the {Pivot menu). 



Active Object 

The axis passes through the active object (drawn in pink). See Selecting objects . 

Individual Object Centers 

Each selected object receives its own rotation axis, all mutually parallel and passing through the 
center point of each object, respectively. If you select only one object, you will get the same effect as 
with the Bounding Box Center button. You can also select this by presssing Ctrl .. 

3D Cursor 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 225 



Object Mode Hints 

The axis passes through the 3D cursor. The cursor can be placed anywhere you wish before rotating. 
You can use this option to easily perform certain translations at the same time that you rotate an 
object. You can also select this by presssing .. 

Median Point 

The axis passes through the median point of the selection. This difference is only relevant in Edit 
Mode, and the Median point is the barycentrum of all vertices. You can also select this by presssing 
Ctrl ,. 

Bounding Box Center 

The axis passes through the center of the selection's bounding box. If only one object is selected, the 
point used is the center point of the object, which might not necessarily be in the geometric center. 
You can also select this by presssing ,. 

For finer control or precision use CTRL or SHIFT. Pressing CTRL switches to Snap mode and rotations are 
constrained to 5 degree increments. Pressing SHIFT at the same time contraints the rotation to 1 degree 
increments. Pressing SHIFT alone while rotating allows finer degrees of rotation as precise as 1/lOOth of a 
degree. The rotation of selected objects can be reset to the default value by pressing Alt R. 

If you're just getting started with rotation, don't worry too much about the foregoing details. Just play around 
with the tool and you'll get a feeling for how pivot points effect rotation. For example, an easy way to 
understand how pivot points work is to create two cubes as shown in {Multiple Selected). Then cycle through 
each pivot point type while in Rotate mode. 



Hints 

To have one cube orbit another cube set the pivot point to Active Object. As you rotate, constrained or not, the 
other object(s) orbit the active object. 



Scaling objects 

Mode: Edit mode / Object mode 
Hotkey: S or Gesture System 
Menu: Mesh af Transform af Scale 



Description 

Scale the objects by moving the mouse and confirming with LMB '-' or ENTER, and cancel with RMB ^- or 
ESC. 

Scaling in 3D space occurs around a center point; much like a rotation occurs around a pivot point. If you 
increase the size of the object, all points are moved away from the selected center point; if you decrease it, all 
points move towards this point. 



Options 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 226 



Object Mode Options 

Axis of scale Constraint 

By default, the selected objects are uniformly scaled in all directions. To change the proportions (make the 
object longer, broader and so on), you can lock the scaling process to one of the global coordinate axes, just as 
you would with Grab mode and Rotate mode. Again all considerations on constraining to a specific axis, in 
respect to Grabbing, still hold as well as those on numerical input. See Grab mode's Axis constraint for exact 
details. 

Center point of scale 

To se lect the center-point-of-scale use the Rotation/Scaling button accessed in the header of the 3D window, 



ffl '| . This will display the (Pivot menu) as shown in Point of rotation . 



Here again the CTRL key switches to Snap mode, with discrete scaling at 0.1 steps. Press SHIFT for fine 
tuning. The scaling of selected objects can be reset to the default value by pressing Alt S. 



Mirroring objects 

Mirroring objects is a different application of the scale tool. Mirroring is effectively nothing but scaling with a 
negative factor in one direction. For example, to mirror in the direction of any single axis: 




Mirrored Frustum 

• Enter Scale mode 

• Select an axis using X, Y or Z key. 

• Enter '-1' as the scaling factor. 

{Mirrored Frustum) is an example of mirroring a frustum object along the Z axis. These are the steps to mirror 
the fmstum: 

• Enter Scale mode 

• Select the Z axis using the Z key. 

• Enter '-1' as the scaling factor. 

• Hit ENTER 



Skinning and Cloning Objects 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 227 



Object Mode Options 







F 








• |ME:Culie |F|OB:CijbE | 




\fert ex Groups 






1 Mat 1 1 ? 1 




^iEW 1 Delete 


We IV 


Detete 


Copy Group 


Select 


Deselect 






Assign 1 












Set SolW 1 



Relevant fields highlighted in yellow. 

At the very top of the Links and Materials Panel, you will find two fields, one in light pink and another right 
next to it in gray. 

The field in gray starts with OB : and is the name of the object itself. It has to be unique within the .blend file 
across all scenes. The field name on the left starts with a two-letter abbreviation indicating what type of 
object it is, and the name of its skin, or physical appearance: 

• ME: Is the physical mesh, made up of vertices. 

• CU: Is a curve, surface, or text object, made up of control points. 

• MB: Is a metaball, whose skin is represented as a mathematical function. 

Any of these skins can be shared by objects. Imagine a scene with 50 cats, some skinny, some fat. You would 
have two meshes, ME:Cat.Skinny and ME:Cat.Fat. You would create 50 OB:Cat.001, OB:Cat.002, ... 
OB:Cat.050 and assign 20 of the OB to be fat cats, and the rest skinny. 



Options 

Clicking the F will fake a user of the skin, and it will not be deleted when no one uses it. The next time you 
open the .blend file, it will be in memory and will not have to be re-made. You can then create an object of its 
type, and use that skin. 

At any time you can change the skin of an object by clicking the up-down selector on the left of the field and 
selecting a different skin for that same object type. When you do, the field will then show the multi-user 
button, "2" identifying how many other objects share this skin. 

Hotkey: AU D 

Menu: Object -> Duplicate Linked 

Select an object and use the hotkey to create a clone of the original. The two objects will share the same skin. 
This means that altering either object at the Edit Mode level (when in Edit Mode), by for example grabbing 
vertices, will result in the other objects being altered in the same relative way. This linking usually only works 
when in Edit Mode, so scaling/rotating/grabbing an object in Object Mode will not result in the other linked 
object being affected. 



Complex Objects 



To change an object's shape, you edit it by selecting it and pressing Tab. You then choose a selection mode 
(vertices, edges, or faces), select them and then grab, rotate, or scale them. These operations are the same as 
described above for whole objects. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 228 



Object Mode Options 

For working on complex models, hide the parts you are not working on (select in edit mode and press H to 
hide, Alt H to unhide). If you set up vertex groups for the different parts of your model, it is easy to select 
parts to hide. The other option is to separate your complex thing into multiple parts, and then only edit one 
part at a time. You can also hide objects in your scene so they don't clutter the view. You can also move 
objects to layers, and then not select those layers so they are not shown in the 3D view. 



Previous: Manual/Selecting Objects Contents Next: Manual/Groups and Parenting 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 229 



Object Mode Parenting objects 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.42 

There can be many objects in a scene: A typical stage scene consists of furniture, props, lights, and backdrops. 
Blender helps you keep everything organized by allowing you to group like objects together. 

When modelling a complex object, such as a watch, you may choose to model the different parts as separate 
objects. However, all of the parts may be attached to each other. In these cases, you want to designate one 
object as the parent of all the children. Movement and rotation of the parent also affects the children. 



Parenting objects 

Mode: Object mode 

Hotkey: Ctrl P 

Menu: Object af Parent af Make Parent 



Description 



IV DK? 



Make parent 



Make Parent 

To parent objects, select at least two objects, and press Ctrl P. A confirmation dialog will pop up asking Make 
Parent. Selecting Make Parent confirms and the child/children to parent relationship is created, see image 
(Make Parent). The last object selected will be the Active Object outlined in pink, and will also be the Parent 
Object. If you selected multiple objects before selecting the parent, they will all be children of the parent and 
will be at the same level of the hierarchy. 

Moving and rotating the parent will also usually move/rotate the child/children. However moving/rotating the 
child/children of the parent, will not result in the parent moving/rotating. The direction of influence is usually 
from Parent to Child/Children, not from Child/Children to Parent. 

Mode: Edit mode 

Hotkey: Ctrl P 

Menu: Mesh af Vertices af Make Vertex Parent 

You can parent an object to a single vertex or a group of vertices as well; that way the child/children will 
move when the parent mesh is deformed, like a mosquito on a pulsing artery. In Object Mode, select the 
child/children and then the Parent Object. Tab into Edit Mode and on the Parent Object select either 1 vertex 
that defines a single point, or select 3 vertices that define an area (the 3 vertices do not have to form a 
complete face they can be any 3 vertices of the Parent Object), and then Ctrl P and confirm. At this point if a 
single vertex was selected a relationship/parenting line will be drawn from the vertex to the Parent Object. If 3 
vertices are selected then a relationship/parenting line is drawn from the averaged center of the 3 points (of the 
Parent Object) to the child/children. Now, as the parent mesh deforms and the chosen parent vertex/vertices 
move, the child/children will move as well. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 230 



Object Mode Options 

Options 



Move child 

i; OK? 



Move child 

You can Move a child object to its parent by clearing its origin. The relationship between the parent and child 
still remains. Select the child object and press Alt O. By confirming the dialog the child object will snap to the 
parent's location. Use Outliner view to verify that the child object is still parented. 



Remove relationship/Clear Parent 

You can Remove a parent-child relationship via Alt P; see image (Remove relationship). 



OK? 

Clear Parent 

Clear and Keep Transformation (Clear Track) 

Clear Parent Inverse 



Remove relationship 

The menu contains: 

Clear Parent 

If the parent in the group is selected nothing is done. If a child or children are selected they are 
disassociated with the parent, or freed, and they return to their original location, rotation, and size. 

Clear and Keep Transformation (Clear Track) 

Frees the children from the parent, and keeps the location, rotation, and size given to them by the 
parent. 

Clear Parent Inverse 

Places the children with respect to the parent as if they were placed in the Global reference. This 
effectively clears the parent's transformation from the children. For example, if the parent is moved 10 
units along the X axis and "Clear Parent Inverse" is invoked, any selected children are freed and 
moved -10 units back along the X axis. The "Inverse" only uses the last transformation; if the parent 
moved twice, 10 units each time for a total of 20 units, then the "Inverse" will only move the child 
back 10 units not 20. 



Parenting Examples 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 231 



Object Mode Hints 




Parenting Example 

The Active Object, in light pink (Cube A), will be made the parent of all the other object(s) in the group 
(darker pink/purple Cube B). The center(s) of all children object(s) are now linked to the center of the parent 
by a dashed line; see image (Parenting Example). The parent object is cube "A" and the child object is cube 
"B". The link is labelled "L". 

At this point, grabbing, rotating, and scaling transformations to the parent will do the same to the children. 
Parenting is a very important tool with many advanced applications, as we'll see in later chapters; it is used 
extensively with advanced animations. 



Hints 



A Cube_Parent_Mesh 
M£ Cube .auld_L_JJ.- 



Outliner view 



There is another way to see the parent-child relationship in groups and that is to use the Outliner view which 
is described in The Ouliner window. Image (Outliner view) is an example of what the Outliner view looks like 
for the (Parenting Example). Cube "A"'s object name is "Cube_Parent" and cube "B" is "Cube_Child". 



Seperating Objects 

Mode: Edit Mode 

Hotkey: P 

Menu: Mesh af Vertices af Seperate 



Description 

At some point, you'll come to a time when you need to cut parts away from a mesh to be seperate, but you 
might wonder how to do that. Well, the operation is easy. 



General 

To seperate an object, the vertices (or faces) must be selected and then seperated, though there are several 
different ways to do this. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 232 



Object Mode Options 

Options 

Selected 

This option separates the selection to a new object. 
All Loose Parts 




Suzanne decapitated neatly 
Separates the unselected part of the mesh. 
By Material 

Creates seperate mesh objects for each material. 

Grouping objects 

Mode: Object mode 

Panel: Object af Object and Links 

Hotkey: Ctrl G 

Menu: Object af Parent af Add to New Group 

Description 




Grouped objects 

Group objects together without any kind of transformation relationship. Use groups to just logically organize 
your scene, or to facilitate one-step appending or linking between files or across scenes. Objects that are part 
of a group always shows as light green when selected; see image (Grouped objects). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 233 



Object Mode 



Options 



Options 

Adding to or Creating Group 
Groups 



\dd to Existing Group 



Add to New Group 
Remove from All Groups 



Groups pop-up 

Ctrl G pops up a dialog for adding to existing groups or creating new a group; see image {Groups pop-up). 

Alternatively, with the object selected or in Edit Mode, click the Add to Group button shown above in image 
(Naming a Group). The popup list allows you to click on an existing group, or create a new one. 

You can also ostracize, or banish, the selected object from all groups by selecting the Remove option. 

Naming a Group 

[Mil ^ Paf^sis |®|si|^|^q:|b"| f^r~ 



▼ Object and Linlcs 


■ 


■s&M 




OB:Cube 


F 


1 Par: 












Add to Group 


1 Passlndex: : | 










GRiDiningSet 


X) 


























9 


















^ 


■ 


L J 




^H 




^H 






^H 


^ 


■ 





Naming a Group 

There are many ways to create a Group. The simplest is to shift-select all the objects you want to be grouped 
together, and then, in Object Mode, find ObjectGroupAdd to New Group in the menu of the 3D area or use 
the Ctrl G shortcut. The selected objects will now have a green outline indicating that they are part of one or 
more groups. Then, among the Buttons Window Object (F7) context, in the Object and Links panel, in the 
GR: field shift click and type DiningSet. save and close the file. 

To name groups in the Outliner window, select Groups as the outliner display from the header combo box, 
and Ctrl LMB ^~ click on the group name. The name will change to an editable field; make your changes and 
press Enter. 

Restricting Group Contents via Layers 

That cluster of layer buttons below a Group designation determines from which layers the group objects will 
be included when duped. If your Group contains objects on layers 10, 1 1 and 12, but you disable the layer 12 
button in the Group controls, duplicates of that group (using the Dupligroup feature) will only show the 
portions of the group that reside in layers 10 and 1 1 . 

Appending or Linking Groups 

To append a group from another .blend file, consult this page . In summary, FileAppend or 
Link(filename)Group<groupname>. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



234 



Object Mode Select Grouped 

Select Grouped 

Mode: Object mode 

Hotkey: Shift G 

Menu: Select af Grouped 



Description 

Select Grouped 

Children 

Immediate Children 

Parent 

Siblings (Shared Parent) 

Objects of Same Type 

Objects on Shared Layers 

Objects In Same Group 

Object Hooks 

Object PasslndeK 



Selected Grouped pop-up 

Shift G pops up a dialog for selecting objects based on parenting and grouping characteristics; see image 

(Selected Grouped pop-up). 



Options 

Children 

Selects all the active object's children, and the children's children, up to the last generation. 
Immediate Children 

Selects all the active object's children but not those of the selected object's parent. 
Parent 

Selects the parent of the active object and deselects the active object. 
Siblings (Shared Parent) 

Selects all the siblings of the Active Object. 
Objects of Same Type 

Select objects based on the current object type. 

Objects on Shared Layers 

This actually has nothing to do with parents. It selects all objects on the same layer(s) of the active 
object. 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 235 



Object Mode Examples 

Objects in Same Group 

Select objects that belong to the same group as the selected object(s). 
Object Hooks 

Select all Hooks which are attached to the Active Object. 

Object Passlndex 

Select all objects which have the same Passlndex number as the Active Object. See ID Mask Node 
usage for more information on this option. 



Examples 




Grouped objects 

(Grouped objects) shows to cubes grouped together where A is the last selected object indicated by being 
drawn in a lighter color. 



Previous: Manual/Editing Objects Contents Next: Manual/Duplication 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 236 



Object Mode Duplicate 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

Duplicate 

Mode: Edit mode / Object mode 

Hotkey: Shift D 

Menu: Object at ' Duplicate 



Description 

This will create a visually identical copy of the selected object(s). The copy is created at the same position as 
the original object and you are automatically placed in Grab mode. Reference (Duplicate Example) for the 
discussions below. 

This is a new object and it "shares" all the Material(s), Texture(s), and IPO(s) from the original object; this is 
sometimes called a shallow link because the object's mesh information and transform properties are separate 
copies. 



Examples 




Duplicate Example 

The cone labeled "C" is a Duplicate of cone "A". Here are some properties to notice: 

• The vertex at "PI" has been moved but the same vertex on cone "A" is unchanged. This means the 
mesh data are copies not links. 

• Cone "C"'s color is red because cone "A"'s color is red. This means the material properties are linked 
not copied. 

• If you rotate cone "C" cone "A" remains unchanged. This means the transform properties are copies 
not links. 

If you want separate copies you need to manually create them, one for each corresponding property. You can 
make separate materials for each, as described in the Materials Chapter . 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 237 



Object Mode Linked Duplicates 

Linked Duplicates 

Mode: Edit mode / Object mode 

Hotkey: Alt D 

Menu: Object af Duplicate Linked 



Description 

You also have the choice of creating a Linked Duplicate rather than a Duplicate; this is called a deep link. 
This will create a new object with all of its data linked to the original object. If you modify one of the linked 
objects in EditMode, all linked copies are modified. Transform properties still remain copies not links so you 
still can rotate, scale, and move freely without affecting the other copy. Reference {Duplicate Example) for 
the discussions below. 



Examples 

The cone labeled "D" is a Linked Duplicate of cone "B" using Alt D. Here are some properties to notice: 

• The vertex at "P2" has moved and the same vertex on cone "B" has moved as well. This means the 
mesh data are links not copies. 

• Cone "D"'s color is green because cone "B"'s color is green. This means the material properties are 
also linked and not copied. 

• If you rotate cone "D" cone "B" remains unchanged. This means the transform properties are copies 
not links. 

A common table has a top and four legs. Model one leg, and then make linked duplicates three times for each 
of the remaining legs. If you later make a change to the mesh, all the legs will still match. Linked duplicates 
also apply to a set of drinking glasses, wheels on a car; anywhere there is repetition or symmetry. 

Procedural Duplication 

Mode: Object mode / Edit Mode 
Panel: Anim Settings 
Hotkey: F7 



There are currently four ways in Blender to procedurally duplicate objects. These options are located in the 
Objects context (F7) buttons, panel Anim Settings. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 238 



Object Mode 



Hints 



TracfcX Qj Z 


-X 


-V 


-2 1 


UpX 


vQ 




Draw Key 


Draw Key Se 


Powertrack 


SlowPar 1 




DupliFrames 


DupliVerts 


DupliFaces 


DupliGroup 


GR: 




DupSta: 1 *^ 


41 


DupOn: 1 *■ 


DupEndlOO *■ 


i 


DupOffO ► 



Offs Ob Offs Par 


Offs Particle 














TimeOflfset: 0.00 


Automatic Time 


PrSpeed 



Anim settings panel 

DupliVerts 

This creates an instance of all children of this Object on each vertex (for Mesh-Objects only). 
DupliFaces 

This creates instances of all children of this Object on each face (for Mesh-Objects only). 
DupliGroup 

This creates an instance of the group with the transformation of the Object. Group duplicators can be 

animation using Actions, or can get a Proxy 

to do 

- link to proxy page of the manual. 

DupliFrames 

For animated Objects, this creates an instance on every frame. 



Hints 



If you want Transform properties to be linked see the section on Parent Grouping . 



Previous: Manual/Groups and Parenting 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Tracking 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



239 



Object Mode Tracking 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.42 

Tracking 

Mode: Object mode 

Panel: Object af Constraints 

Hotkey: Ctrl T 

Menu: Object af Track af Make Track 



Description 

Tracking consists of one object watching another. The watcher is the "Tracker" and the watched is the 
"Target". If the target moves the tracker rotates; if the tracker moves the tracker rotates. In both cases the 
tracker maintains a constant heading towards the target. 



Options 



Make Track 

TracfiTo Constraint 
LockTrack Constraint 
Oid Track 



Make Track Menu. 

To make one or more objects track another object (the target) select at least two objects and press CtrlT. The 
active object becomes the target and the others objects the trackers. The (Make Track Menu) provides several 
options for creating the initial tracking: 



TrackTo Constraint 

This options causes the tracker to point a local "To" axis at the target with an "Up" axis always maintaining a 
vertical orientation. This tracking is similar to billboard tracking in 3D. This is the preferred method over Old 
Track. As mentioned TrackTo constraint is the preferred tracking constraint because it has a more easily 
controlled constraining mechanism. It also can act as a constraint on the constraint stack and can be moved up 
and down in the stack. 

The controls for changing the "Tracking" and "Up" axis of a tracker object are located in the Constraints 
panel. This panel is located in the same place as the Anim settings and Draw panels (in Buttons Window, 
Object(F7) context, Object buttons sub-context); see (Constraints panel). The constraint fields are: 



[Add Constraint 1 To Obiect: Cube. 00 

■»■ Tracl< To lAulolrack"! 00 5* 

Target |QE:Cube | 

To: |aV|Z|-|-|-| UpEEH 



[Influence 1 . ^^^^^^1 |Show| Key | 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 240 



Object Mode Options 

Constraints panel 

• Target - The name of the target that the tracking object tracks. 

• To - The tracking axis. It shouldn't be the same as the "Up" axis. 

• Up - The "Up" oriented axis relative to the global coordinate system. 

• Influence - This controls how accurately the tracking object tracks the target. "0" means that the 
constraint is turned off. The tracking object will remain locked in orientation. "1" means tracking is 
completely on and the tracking axis will stay tightly focused on the target. 

• Show - This adds an influence IPO channel to the constraint if one is not present. You can then add 
keys to the channel. 

• Key - This adds animation keys to the influence IPO channel. This is a very powerful combination. 
For example, you could have a camera with a TrackTo constraint applied and have input driving the 
influence channel. 

If you select an invalid combination of "Tracking" and "Up" axis the fleld labeled "AutoTrack" will turn red. 
In addition, the tracking object will stop tracking the target until you choose a valid combination. This 
behavior is different than Old Track where Old Track would continue to track using a previous valid 
combination. 




TrackTo example 

{TrackTo example) is an example of a cube using the TrackTo constraint. Cube "A" is tracking "B" where "L" 
is the tracking line. Notice how the tracking object's local axes are visible by using the Draw panel's axis 
button. You can clearly see the "Tracking" and "Up" axis. Cube "A"'s constraint setting are reflected in 
{Constraints panel). +X is the "Tracking" axis and +Z is the "Up" axis. 

You can also see in {Constraints panel) what cube "A" is tracking by looking at the Target field. We can see 
that cube "A" is tracking cube "B" because cube "B"'s name is "OB:Cube". You can redirect tracking to 
another object simply by entering in the name of another object. 



LockTrack Constraint 

This options causes the tracker to point a local "To" axis at the target with a "Lock" axis always fixed and 
unable to rotate. This tracking is similar to billboard tracking in 2D. This constraint always has one axis 
locked such that it can not rotate. An example of billboarding is to have a Plane object textured with a tree 
image that always faces the camera. 

The controls for changing the "Tracking" and "Lock" axis are located in the Constraints panel. This panel is 
located in the same place as the Anim settings and Draw panels; see {Constraints panel). The constraint fields 
are: 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 241 



Object Mode Options 




Locked Constraints panel 

• Target - The name of the target that the tracking object tracks. 

• To - The tracking axis. It shouldn't be the same as the "Lock" axis. 

• Lock - The locked axis relative to the global coordinate system. The tracking object's local axis will 
snap to a global axis. 

• Influence - This controls how accurately the tracking object tracks the target. "0" means that the 
constraint is turned off. The tracking object will remain locked in orientation. "1" means tracking is 
completely on. 

• Show - This adds an influence IPO channel to the constraint if one is not present. You can then add 
keys to the channel. 

• Key - This adds animation keys to the influence IPO channel. This constraint works well for 
billboarding 2D trees. 

Note 

According to the documentation the Lock axis buttons of the LockTrack Constraint command, when pressed 
will take the selected Lock axis and point it toward the global axis of the same type. This doesn't seem to 
happen in Blender 2.46 as the Lock axis does not appear to move to orient along the global axis. 
For further details see TrackTo constraint. LockTrack and TrackTo are very similar where the former has a 
locked axis verses an "Up" axis. 



Old Track 




Old Track constraint 

This is an older algorithm prior to version 2.30 and is similar to TrackTo Constraint in that no axis is locked. 
This algorithm merely tries to keep a "To" axis pointed at the target. The tracking object will usually end up in 
an odd orientation when this constraint is first applied. In order to get correct results use Alt R when applying 
or changing the tracking or "Up" axis. However, the preferred method to use is TrackTo Constraint. Let's 
assume you have selected Old Track in the dialog with two cubes selected; see (Old Track constraint). By 
default the inactive object(s) track the active object so that their local +Y axis points to the tracked object. 
Cube "A" is tracking cube "B" using the Old Track constraint. You can see that "A"'s +Y axis is pointing at 
"B" but at an odd orientation. This typically happens if the object already has a rotation of its own. You can 
produce correct tracking by canceling the rotation on the tracking object using (Alt R). 

The orientation of the tracking object is also set such that the chosen "Up" axis is pointing upward. 




k 



Tr3ickX|a z||-X|-Y||-Z| 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 242 



Object Mode Hints 

Setting track axis. 

If you want to change this you need to get to the "Anim settings" panel where Old Track's setting are 
accessed. First select the tracking object (not the target) and change the Button Window to Object Context by 



clicking the icon (I'fel.l), or F7; see {Setting track axis). 



You then have the option of selecting the Tracking axis from the first column-set of six radio buttons and/or 
selecting the upward- pointing axis from the second column-set in the Anim Setting panel. Each time you 
change the "Up" axis you need to apply (Alt R) otherwise the tracking object will continue to track with the 
old orientation. This is one of the drawbacks to using Old Track. 

To clear or remove a track constraint, select the tracking object and press Alt T. As with clearing a parent 
constraint, you must choose whether to lose or save the rotation imposed by the tracking. Note: (Alt R) only 
works with the Old Track constraint. 



Hints 

The active object always becomes the target object to be tracked. In all but Old Track a blue dashed line is 
drawn between the tracker and target indicating that a tracking constraint is in place between the 
corresponding objects. If you see an object tracking another object without a dashed blue line then you know 
the tracking object is using the Old Track constraint. 



Invalid Tracking or settings 

If you choose an invalid "Tracking axis" and/or "Up" axis the tracking object keeps it current orientation and 
ignores the incorrect selections. For example, if you choose the +Z axis as the tracking axis and also choose 
the +Z axis as the "Up" axis you have choosen an invalid combination because you can't have the tracking 
object's +Z axis doing two different things at the same time. 

If you have problems setting up the correct "Tracking" and "Up" axes you may want to turn on the tracking 
object's local axes. You can do this from the Draw panel by clicking on the "Axis" button, see The Interface 
chapter for further details on the Draw panel. 



Previous: Manual/Duplication Contents Next: Manual/Meshes 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 243 



Edit Mode 



Edit IVIode 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



Edit Mode 

You can work with geometric objects in two modes: Object Mode and Edit Mode. Operations in Object Mode 
affect whole objects, and operations in Edit Mode affect only the geometry of an object, but not its global 
properties such as location or rotation. You switch between these two modes with the TAB key. 

Object Mode is recognizable if you see the following header in the 3D view: 



E 



ijlj: 'I "^ View Select Object | tCObject tvlode 



m ■ 



Jfrh ii 


i ? B 



JA 



Object Mode header. 

Edit Mode is recognizable if you see the following header in the 3D view: 



in 



^ -| "^ View Select tvlesh | A Edit Mode 



fl :|^ |(^[@~ 



Edit Mode header. 

After creating an object you are immediately placed in Edit Mode. Edit Mode only works on one object at a 
time, the Active Object. An object outside Edit Mode (i.e. Object Mode) is drawn in purple in the 3D 
Viewport Windows (in wireframe mode) when selected; it is black otherwise. 




One cube selected. 

In Edit Mode each vertex is drawn in purple, each edge is drawn in black and each face is drawn in translucent 
dark-blue. In image (One cube selected) the Cube on the right is in Edit Mode. The Cube on the left is in 
Object Mode and not selected. Each selected vertex or edge is highlighted in yellow. 




Two Cubes selected prior to Edit Mode. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



244 



Edit Mode 



Basic Editing 



If multiple objects are selected and Edit Mode is entered then the last object selected (the Active Object) 
enters Edit Mode. The other objects remain purple and in Object Mode. As shown in image (Two Cubes 
selected prior to Edit Mode), both cubes were selected prior to Edit Mode and now the left cube is still purple 
and the right cube (the Active Object) is in Edit Mode. 

If enough vertices are selected to form a face then that face is highlighted in translucent purple while the 
remaining faces are highlighted in translucent dark-blue. This helps give you a frame of reference when 
selecting vertices, edges or faces. The translucent effect indicates that you have selected enough vertices to 
imply one or more faces. See Edge and Face Tools for further details on implicit selections. 

If the Buttons Window is visible and Editing Context button (F9) is activated then two panels appear while in 
Edit Mode (see images Mesh Tools and Mesh Tools 1): 



Beauty I Short I Subdivide llnnervert 



Noise 



To Sphere 



Rem Doub 



Hash 



Smooth 



Xsort 



Split 



FractaJ 



Rip Norma 



Limit: 0.001 hreshold: 0.010 



Extrude 



Serew 



Spin 



Oegr: 90.001 Steps: 3 



Spm Dup 



Turns: 1 



Keep Original 



Extrude Dup 



Offset: 1.00 



Join Triangles 



Tlireshold 0.000 



Delimit UV| Delimit Ve | Delimit Sh | Delimit mT 



Mesh Tools 



Centre 


Hide 


Seleet Swap 


Reveal 




Mesh Tools 1 



Draw VNormals 



Edge Length 



Edge /Vigles 
Face Area 



1 



By default the buttons (Draw Faces and Draw Edges) are pre-selected and any selected edges and faces are 
highlighted. 

In addition, panels (see images Link and Materials and Mesh Tools) are updated. 




* ME: Cube 



Vertex Groups 



New 


Delete 


Assign 


Remove 


Select 


Desel. 



F OB:Cube 





- Mat 


7 


New 


Delete 


Select 


Deselect 


Assign 



Set Smooth Set Solid 



Mesh Tools 



Link and Materials 



The Link and Materials panel gains the New, Delete, Assign, Remove, Select and Desel. buttons. The Mesh 
panel loses the Decimator, Apply and Cancel group of buttons. 



Basic Editing 



Most simple operations from Object Mode (like selecting, moving, rotating, and scaling) work the same way 
on vertices as they do on objects. Thus, you can learn how to handle basic Edit Mode operations very quickly. 
The only notable difference is a new scaling option, Alt S which scales the selected vertices along the 
direction of the Normals (shrinks-fattens). The truncated pyramid in image (Chopped-ojf pyramid), for 
example, was created with the following steps: 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



245 



Edit Mode Mirror Axis and Modifier 




Chopped-off pyramid 

• Add a cube to an empty scene. If not in Edit Mode then use TAB to enter Edit Mode. 

• Make sure all vertices are deselected (purple). Use border select (B) to select the upper four vertices. 

• Check that the scaling center is set to anything but the 3D Cursor (you don't want to see |-^ - as the 



selected pivot point), then switch to scale mode (S), reduce the size, and confirm with LMB. 
Exit Edit Mode by pressing TAB. 



All operations in Edit Mode are ultimately performed on the vertices; the connected edges and faces 
automatically adapt, as they depend on the vertice's positions. To select an edge, you must select the two 
endpoints or place the mouse on the edge and press Alt RMB 'J. To select a face, each corner must be 
selected. 

Edit Mode operations are many, and most are summarized in the Editing Context Buttons window, accessed 
via the (Iq]) header button or via F9 {Edit Context). 



Mirror Axis and l\/lodifier 



Mirror Axis 


X Global 


Y Global 


Z Global 


X Local 


Y Local 


Z Local 


X View 


Y View 


Z View 



Mirror Axis 

One extra feature for Edit Mode is the Mirroring tool. If you have some vertices selected and you press M you 
will be presented with a Menu containing nine options {Mirror Axis). You can select from these to mirror the 
selected vertices with respect to any of the X, Y or Z axes of the Global, Local, or Viewing reference. If you 
need to select groups of vertices use the handy Circle Select tool. 

Editor's Note 

There is a much more advanced tool for performing mirroring operations and that is the Mirror Modifier 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 246 



Edit Mode Specials 

Specials 

With W you can call up the Specials menu in Edit Mode, see image (Specials Menu). With this menu you can 
quickly access functions which are frequently required for polygon-modelling. 



Specials 

Subdivide 

Subdivide Mult! 

Subdivide Mult! Fractai 

Subdivide Smooth 

Merge 

Remove Doubles 

Hide 

Reveal 

Seiect Swap 

Flip Normais 

Smooth 

Bevei 

Set Smooth 

Set Soiid 

Blend From Shape 

Propagate To All Shapes 

Select Vertex Path 

Specials Menu. 



9 



• Subdivide - Each selected edge is split in two, new vertices are created at middle points, and faces are 
split too, if necessary. 

• Subdivide Multi - This is identical to Subdivide except a dialog pops up asking for the number of cuts 
or repeated sub-divisioning. The default is "2". 

• Subdivide Multi Fractal - As above, but new vertices are randomly displaced within a user-defined 
range. 

• Subdivide Smooth - Same as Subdivide, but new vertices are displaced towards the barycenter 
(centre of mass) of the connected vertices. 

• Merge - Merges selected vertices into a single one, at the barycenter position or at the 3D Cursor 
position. 

• Remove Doubles - Merges all of the selected vertices whose relative distance is below a given 
threshold (0.001 by default). 

• Hide - Hides selected vertices. 

• Reveal - Shows hidden vertices. 

• Select Swap - All selected vertices become unselected and vice-versa. 

• Flip Normals - Change the Normal directions of the selected faces. 

• Smooth - Smooths out a mesh by moving each vertex towards the barycenter of the linked vertices. 

• Bevel - Bevels the entire object regardless of the selected vertices, edges or faces. See 
Manual/Edge and Face Tools#Bevel 

• Set Smooth - Changes the selected faces to smoothing shading. 

• Set Solid - Changes the selected faces to faceted or flat shading. 

Keyboard Tip: 

You can access the entries in a PopupMenu by using the corresponding numberkey. For example, 
pressing W and then 1 will subdivide the selected edges without you having to touch the mouse at all. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 247 



Edit Mode 



Mesh Undo 



utlShortl Subdivide llnnenfert ? 



Noise 



"lb Spher 



Rem Ddu 



Hash 



Xsort 



Smooth I Split [Flip Norm 



Frattal 



Limit; fl.OOl' Ireshold; 0.010 



ExtrLide 



Spin 



De<inSO.JO| Steps: 8 



Spin Dup 



|(^ep Original 



Elitrude Pup | Offsgt; 1.0 | 



loin Triartqles | TTimsJuld fl.BOO 
Delimit U|Delimit V| Delimit S| pElimit 



Mesh Tools Panel 

Many of these actions have a button of their own in the Mesh Tools panel of the Edit Buttons Window {Edit 
Context) see image (Mesh Tools Panel). The Remove doubles threshold can be adjusted on that panel too. 

Mesh Undo 

Blender has a global undo system, giving full multiple level undo capabilities in all areas of Blender. 
Exceptions are: Edit mode Armature, and Fileselect, Audio and Oops windows. 



]ID ]ZCI DID 



i~ri 






znz\ 



LCI 

I I "-■ 
]zn 

j333 



Undo and Redo 

The new global hotkey for undo is Ctrl Z, and Shift Ctrl Z for redo. 

Mesh undo works in the background saving copies of your mesh in memory as you make changes. Pressing 
the Ctrl Z in mesh Edit Mode reverts to the previously saved mesh, undoing the last edit operation (Undo and 
Redo). 

Mesh Undo operations are only stored for one mesh at a time. You can leave and re-enter Edit Mode for the 
same mesh without losing any undo information, but once another mesh is edited, the undo information for 
the first is lost. Pressing Shift Ctrl Z re-does the last undo operation {Undo and Redo). 




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248 



Edit Mode Mesh Undo 

Pressing Alt U brings up the Undo menu see image (Undo Menu). This lists all the undo steps by name so you 
can quickly find your way back to a known good point in your work. The Undo Menu also contains the option 
All Changes. This option is more powerful than merely pressing Ctrl Z repeatedly, and will reload the mesh 
data as it was at the beginning of your edit session, even if you have used up all your undo steps. 



r^ 


Editmode undo: 


^ 


Step3:32 ^^J 


_3 


"' 'inSEH 


■1 






f 


1 


Lan 



User Preferences/Edit Methods 

Mesh Undo has the potential to be very memory intensive. A mesh of 64,000 faces and vertices can use over 
3MB s of RAM per undo step! If you are on a machine that is strapped for RAM (Memory), in the User 
reference Window under Edit Methods, there is a NumButton see image (Editmode undo) for setting the 
maximum number of undo steps saved see image (User Preferences/Edit Methods). The allowable range is 
between 1 and 64. The default is 32. 



Previous: Manual/Tracking Contents Next: Manual/Mesh Structures 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 249 



Edit Mode 



Mesh Structures: Vertices, Edges and Faces 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



Mesh Structures: Vertices, Edges and Faces 

In basic meshes, everything is built from three basic structures: Vertices, Edges and Faces. (We're not talking 
about Curves, NURBS, and so forth here.) But there is no need to be disappointed: This simplicity still 
provides us with a wealth of possibilities that will be the foundation for all our models. 



Vertices 




Vertex example. 

A vertex is primarily a single point or position in 3D space. It is usually invisible in rendering and in 
ObjectMode. Don't mistake the center point of an object for a vertex. It looks similar, but it's bigger and you 
can't select it. (Vertex example) shows the center point labeled as "A". "B" and "C" are vertices. 

To create a new vertex, change to Edit mode, hold down CTRL, and click with the LMB ^ 1 Of course, as a 
computer screen is two-dimensional. Blender can't determine all three vertex coordinates from one mouse 
click, so the new vertex is placed at the depth of the 3D cursor 'into' the screen. Any vertices selected 
previously are automatically connected to the new one with an edge. Vertex labeled "C" is a new vertex added 
to the cube with a new edge (B to C) 



Edges 

An edge always connects two vertices with a straight line. The edges are the 'wires' you see when you look at 
a mesh in wireframe view. They are usually invisible on the rendered image. They are used to construct faces. 
Create an edge by selecting two vertices and pressing F. 



Faces 

A Face is the highest level structure in a mesh. Faces are used to build the actual surface of the object. They 
are what you see when you render the mesh. A Face is defined as the area between either three (triangles) or 
four vertices (quads), with an Edge on every side. Triangles always work well, because they are always flat 
and easy to calculate. 

Take care when using four-sided faces (quads), because internally they are simply divided into two triangles 
each. Four-sided faces only work well if the Face is pretty much flat (all points lie within one imaginary 
plane) and convex (the angle at no corner is greater than or equal to 180 degrees). This is the case with the 
faces of a cube, for example. That's why you can't see any diagonals in its wireframe model, because they 
would divide each square face into two triangles. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



250 



Edit Mode 



Mesh Structures: Edge Loops and Face Loops 



While you could build a cube with triangular faces, it would just look more confusing in Edit mode. An area 
between three or four vertices, outlined by Edges, doesn't have to be a face. If this area does not contain a 
face, it will simply be transparent or non-existent in the rendered image. To create a face, select three or four 
suitable vertices and press F. 



Mesh Structures: Edge Loops and Face Loops 




Edge and Face Loops 

Edge and Face Loops are sets of Faces or Edges that form continuous "loops" as shown in (Edge and Face 
Loops). The top row (1-4) shows a solid view, the bottom row (5-8) a wireframe view of the same loops. 

Note that loops 2 and 4 do not go around the whole model. Loops stop at so called poles because there is no 
unique way to continue a loop from a pole. Poles are vertices that are connected to either three or five or more 
edges. Accordingly, vertices connected to exactly one, two or four edges are not poles. Loops that do not end 
in poles are cyclic (1 and 3). They start and end at the same vertex and divide the model into two partitions. 

Loops can be a quick and powerful tool to work with specific, continuous regions of a mesh and are a 
prerequisite for organic character animation. For a detailed description of how to work with loops in Blender 
please refer to the Manual page on Edge and Face Tools . 



Edge Loops 

Loops 1 and 2 in (Edge and Face Loops) are Edge Loops. They connect vertices so that each one on the loop 
has exactly two neighbors that are not on the loop and placed on both sides of the loop (except the start and 
end vertex in case of poles). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



251 



Edit Mode 



Mesh Structures: Edge Loops and Face Loops 




Edge Loops in organic modeling 

Edge Loops are an important concept especially in organic (subsurface) modeling and character animation. 
When used correctly, they allow you to build models with relatively few vertices that look very natural when 
used as subdivision surfaces and deform very well in animation. 

Take {Edge Loops in organic modeling) as an example: The Edge loops follow the natural contours and 
deformation lines of the skin and the underlying muscles and are more dense in areas that deform more when 
the character moves, for example at the shoulders or knees. 

Further details on working with Edge Loops can be found in Edge Loop Selection . 



Face Loops 

These are a logical extension of Face Loops in that they consist of the faces between two Edge Loops, as 
shown in loops 3 and 4 in {Edge and Face Loops). Note that for non-circular loops (4) the faces containing 
the poles are not included in a Face Loop. 

Further details on working with Face Loops can be found in Face Loop Selection . 



Previous: Manual/Meshes 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Mesh Primitives 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



252 



Basic Mesh Objects 



Basic IVIesh Objects 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.44 

Basic Mesh Objects 

Mode : Object Mode 

Hotkey: Shift A 

Menu: Add Mesh (see Add Submenu ) 

Description 

A common object type used in a 3D scene is a Mesh. Blender comes with a number of 'primitive' mesh shapes 
that you can start modelling from. There are several options that are included in more than one primitive that 
you should know. The first is Radius. This option is included with the Circle, Cylinder, Cone, UVSphere and 
IcoSphere primitives and sets their starting size. And the 2nd option is Depth, a parameter that comes with the 
Cylinder and Cone that sets their starting size. 

Options 

Basic Objects shows the variety of basic Mesh objects that can be created. 




All the mesh primitives (none smoothed) 



Plane 



A standard plane contains four vertices, four edges, and one face. It is like a piece of paper lying on a table; it 
is not a real three-dimensional object because it is flat and has no thickness. Objects that can be created with 
planes include floors, tabletops, or mirrors. 

Note 

You can make the mesh three-dimensional by moving one of more of the vertices out of the plane of the 
plane. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



253 



Basic Mesh Objects 



Options 



Cube 

A standard cube contains eight vertices, 12 edges, and six faces, and is a real three-dimensional object. 
Objects that can be created out of cubes include dice, boxes, or crates. 



Circle 



1 


■ 


■ 


Li. Jl 


H 


^ 


1 


1 


■ 





A circle with 64 vertices gives a Filled circle with 32 A circle with only 3 vertices is actually a 

smooth circle. vertices. tnangle. 

A standard circle is comprised of n vertices. The number of vertices and radius can be specified in the popup 
window which appears when the circle is created, shown in 'Add circle popup window'. When 'Fill' button is 
active, the circle will be filled with triangular faces which share a vertex in the middle. However the circle is 
only a flat shape. If it is not filled and you want to render it, you must assign it a wireframe material (Shading 
(F5) context. Material buttons sub-context. Links and Pipeline panel and finally the Wire button). The 
'Radius' parameter adjusts the size of the circle. 



vertkes: J2 



Radius: 1.00 



OK 



Add circle popup window 

The more vertices the circle contains, the smoother its contour will be (see 'Circle' and 'Triangle'). 

Note 

You can make the mesh three-dimensional by moving one or more of the vertices out of the plane of the 
circle. 



UVSphere 

A standard UVsphere is made out of h segments and m rings. The level of detail and radius can be specified in 
the popup window which appears when the UVsphere is created. Increasing the number of segments and rings 
makes the surface of the UVsphere smoother. Segments are like Earth's meridians, going pole to pole and 
rings are like Earth's parallels. Example objects that can be created out of UVspheres are balls, heads or pearls 
for a necklace. 



Segments: 33 



Wngs: 3J 



F^dlus: 1.00 



Add UVSphere popup window 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



254 



Basic Mesh Objects 



Options 



Note 

If you specify a six segment, six ring UVsphere you'll get something which, in top view, is a hexagon (six 
segments), with five rings plus two points at the poles. Thus, one ring fewer than expected, or two more, if 
you count the poles as rings of radius 0. 

Icosphere 

An Icosphere is made up of triangles. The number of subdivisions and radius can be specified in the window 
that pops up when the Icosphere is created; increasing the number of subdivisions makes the surface of the 
Icosphere smoother. At level 1 the Icosphere is an icosahedron, a solid with 20 equilateral triangular faces. 
Any increasing level of subdivision splits each triangular face into four triangles, resulting in a more spherical 
appearance. Icospheres are normally used to achieve a more isotropical and economical layout of vertices than 
a UVsphere. 







1 Sutjdivfeiori: 2 <■ 


OK 




< t^mlliis,: 1.00 





Add icosphere popup window 



Note 



It is possible to add an icosphere subdivided 500 times. Adding such a dense mesh is a sure way to cause a 
program crash. An icosphere subdivided 10 times would have 5,242,880 triangles, so be very careful about 
this! 

Cylinder 

A standard cylinder is made out of n vertices. The number of vertices in the circular cross-section can be 
specified in the popup window that appears when the object is created; the higher the number of vertices, the 
smoother the circular cross-section becomes. The radius and depht parameters controls dimensions of 
cylinder. Objects that can be created out of cylinders include handles or rods. 

If 'Cap Ends' is inactive, the created object will be a tube. Objects that can be created out of tubes include 
pipes or drinking glasses. (The basic difference between a cylinder and a tube is that the former has closed 
ends.) 



-v. 


-..^ ~i 


vertices: 32 ► 


GK 


Radius: l.DD 


•^ Depth: IM 


1 C^pEnds 



Add cylinder popup window 



Cone 



A standard cone is made out of « vertices. The number of vertices in the circular base, dimensions and option 
to close the base of cone can be specified in the popup window that appears when the object is created; the 
higher the number of vertices, the smoother the circular base becomes. Objects that can be created out of 
cones include spikes or pointed hats. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



255 



Basic Mesh Objects 



Options 









< 


V&rtkes: 32 ► 


GK 


4 


Radius: l.DD 


i 


Depth: J.OD 


^^^ESS^^B 



Add cone popup window 



Torus 



A doughnut-shaped primitive created by rotating a circle around an axis. The overal dimensions are defined 
by the major and minor radius. The number of vertices (in segments) can be different for the circles and is 
specified in the popup window with both radii (Major Segments and Minor Segments). 







< Major ftadius: 1.00 ► 


OK 




< M\nor Radius: 0.2^ 




Major S#9m#n1s: 4S 




Mitior S&gmenti: IS 











Add torus popup window 



Grid 

A standard grid is made out of k by m vertices. The resolution of the x-axis and y-axis can be specified in the 
popup window which appears when the object is created; the higher the resolution, the more vertices are 
created. Example objects that can be created out of grids include landscapes (with the proportional editing 
tool) and other organic surfaces. You can also obtain a grid when you create a plane then use a sudivide 
modifier in Edit mode. 



Monkey 



This is a gift from old NaN to the community and is seen as a programmer's joke or "Easter Egg". It creates a 
monkey's head once you press the Monkey button. The Monkey's name is Suzanne and is Blender's mascot. 
Suzanne is very useful as a standard test mesh much like the Utah Tea Pot or the Stanford Bunny . 



Previous: Manual/Mesh Structures 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Mesh Smoothing 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



256 



Basic Mesh Objects 



Mesh smoothing 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



Mesh smoothing 




m 

Simple un-smoothed test object 

As seen in the previous sections, polygons are central to Blender. Most objects are represented by polygons 
and tmly curved objects are often approximated by polygon meshes. When rendering images, you may notice 
that these polygons appear as a series of small, flat faces. See (Simple un-smoothed test object). 

Sometimes this is a desirable effect, but usually we want our objects to look nice and smooth. This section 
shows you how to visually smooth an object, and how to apply the AutoSmooth filter to quickly and easily 
combine smooth and faceted polygons in the same object. 

The last section shows the possibilities to smooth a mesh's geometry, not only its appearance. 



Smoothing the entire mesh 



▼ Link and Materi 



^^METCute" 



Vertex Groups 



New 


Delete 


Assign 


Remove 


Select 


Desel. 




AutoTe 


^ Space 



F OB:Cube 



Mat ► 



New 



Select 



Delete 



Deselect 



Assign 



Set Smooth Set Solid 



Link and Materials 

The easiest way is to set an entire object as smooth or faceted by selecting a mesh object, in ObjectMode, 
switching to the Editing Context (F9), and clicking the Set Smooth button in the Link and Materials panel 
shown in {Link and Materials). 

The button does not stay pressed, it forces the assignment of the "smoothing" attribute to each face in the 
mesh, also when you add or delete geometry. Now, rendering the image with (F12) should produce the image 
shown in {Completely smoothed). 



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257 



Basic Mesh Objects 



Smoothing parts of a mesh 




m 



Completely smoothed 



Notice that the outline of the object is still strongly faceted. Activating the smoothing features doesn't actually 
modify the object's geometry; it changes the way the shading is calculated across the surfaces, giving the 
illusion of a smooth surface. Click the Set Solid button in the same panel to revert the shading back to that 
shown in (Simple un-smoothed test object) above. 



Smoothing parts of a mesh 



Manually 




Object in editmode with some faces selected. 

Alternatively, you can choose which faces to smooth by entering Edit Mode for the object with TAB, then 
selecting the faces and clicking the Set Smooth button {Object in editmode with some faces selected.). The 
selected faces are in marked in Yellow. 

When the mesh is in Editmode, only the selected faces will receive the "smoothing" attribute. You can set 
solid faces (removing the "smoothing" attribute) in the same way by selecting faces and clicking the Set Solid 
button. 



Autosmooth 









Auto Smooth 




Degr:30 








lleKMesh: | 










Centre 








Centre New 


Vert Col 
TeKFace 
. Sticky 


Make 




Cerntre Cursor 






M3l!e 


SlowerDra 


^^^^^^^^fl 


Make 


Faster Draw 


No V.Normal Ri| 





AutoSmooth button group in the EditButtons window. 



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258 



Basic Mesh Objects Smoothing the mesh geometry 

It can be difficult to create certain combinations of smooth and solid faces using the above techniques alone. 
Though there are work-arounds (such as splitting off sets of faces by selecting them and pressing Y), there is 
an easier way to combine smooth and solid faces, by using AutoSmooth. 

Press the AutoSmooth button in the Mesh panel of the Edit Buttons (AutoSmooth button group in the 
EditButtons window.) to indicate which faces should be smoothed on the basis of the angle between faces 
{Same test object with AutoSmooth enabled). Angles on the model that are sharper than the angle specified in 
the Degr NumButton will not be smoothed. Higher values will produce smoother faces, while the lowest 
setting will look identical to a mesh that has been set completely solid. 




Same test object with AutoSmooth enabled 

Only faces that have been set as smooth will be affected by the AutoSmooth feature. A mesh, or any faces that 
have been set as solid will not change their shading when AutoSmooth is activated. This allows you extra 
control over which faces will be smoothed and which ones won't by overriding the decisions made by the 
AutoSmooth algorithm. 



Smoothing the mesh geometry 



The above techniques do not alter the mesh itself, only the way it is displayed and rendered. Instead of just 
making the mesh look like a smooth surface, you can also physically smooth the geometry of the mesh with 
these tools: 

You can apply one of the following in edit mode: 

• Smooth 

• Subdivide Smooth 

• Bevel 

Alternatively, you can smooth the mesh non-destructively with one of the following modifiers: 

• Smooth 

works like the Smooth tool in edit mode; can be applied to specific parts of the mesh using 
vertex groups 

• Subdivision Surface 

Catmull-Clark subdivision produces smooth results. Sharp edges can be defined with 
subdivision creases or by setting certain edges to "sharp" and adding an EdgeSplit modifier 
(set to From Marked As Sharp) before the Subsurf modifier. 



Previous: Manual/Mesh Primitives Contents Next: Manual/Selecting Meshes 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 259 



Basic Mesh Objects Vertex, Edge and Face Modes 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4 

There are many ways to select elements, and it depends on what mode you are in as to what selection tools are 
available. First we will go through these modes and after that a look is taken at basic selection tools. 



Vertex, Edge and Face Modes 

In EditMode there are three different selection modes. 
Select Mode 



Edges 
Faces 

EditMode selection menu. Ctrl Tab 

See {EditMode selection menu) for a picture of the popup menu. 

• Vertices mode. Press Ctrl Tab and select Vertices from the popup menu. The selected vertices are 
drawn in yellow and unselected vertices are drawn in a pink color. 

• Edges mode. Press Ctrl Tab and select Edges from the popup menu. In this mode the vertices are not 
drawn. Instead the selected edges are drawn in yellow and unselected edges are drawn in a black 
color. 

• Faces mode. Press Ctrl Tab and select Faces from the popup menu. In this mode the faces are drawn 
with a selection point in the middle which is used for selecting a face. Selected faces are drawn in 
yellow with the selection point in orange, unselected faces are drawn in black. 

Almost all modification tools are availiable in all three modes. So you can Rotate, Scale and Extrude etc. in 
all modes. Of course rotating and scaling a single vertex will not do anything useful, so some tools are more 
or less applicable in some modes. 



Edges 
Vertices Faces 



^ \©j\ I <. I /- 1 A I [o] 



EditMode selection buttons. 



You can also enter the different modes by selecting one of the three buttons in the toolbar; see {EditMode 
selection buttons). Using the buttons you can also enter mixed modes by Shift LMB — chcking the buttons. 

Note 

The Mode Selection buttons are only visible in EditMode. 



When switching modes, from Vertices to Edges and from Edges to Faces, the selected parts will still be 
selected if they form a complete set in the new mode. For example, if all four edges in a face are selected, 
switching from Edges mode to Faces mode will keep the face selected. All selected parts that do not form a 
complete set in the new mode will be unselected. See Vertex mode example., Edge mode example., Face mode 
example, and Mixed mode example, for examples of the different modes. 



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Basic Mesh Objects 



Point Selection 




Vertex mode example. 



Edge mode example. 




Face mode example. 



Mixed mode example. 



Point Selection 

The most common way to select an element is to RMB H on that item, this will replace the existing selection 
with the new item. 

To add to the existing selection hold down Shift while right clicking. Clicking again on a selected item will 
de-select it. 



Region selection allows you to select groups of elements within a 2D region. The region can be either a circle 
or rectangle. The circular region is only available in Edit mode. The rectangular region, or Border Select, is 
available in both Edit mode and Object mode. 



Circular region 



This selection tool is only available in Edit mode and can be activated with B, B. That is, pressing the B key 
twice in a row. Once in this mode the cursor changes to a dashed cross-hair with a 2D circle surrounding it. 
The tool will operate on whatever the current Select mode is. Clicking or dragging with the LMB ^', when 
elements are inside the circle, will cause those elements to be selected. 

You can enlarge or shrink the circle region using NumPad + and NumPad - or the MW '3. 




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261 



Basic Mesh Objects 



Edit IVIode 



Circle Region Select. 

(Circle Region Select) is an example of selecting edges while in Edge select mode. As soon as an edge 
intersects the circle the edge becomes selected. The tool is interactive such that edges are selected while the 
circle region is being dragged with the LMB '. 

If you want to de-select elements either hold MMB '— ' or Alt LMB and begin clicking or dragging again. 

For faces the circle must intersect the face indicators usually represented by small pixel squares; one for each 
face. 

To exit from this tool click RMB 'J or hit the Esc key. 



Edit Mode 



Face Select Mode 

In Face select mode, faces can be selected based on whether they are triangles, quads, or other. Hotkeys: 

• Shift Ctrl Alt 3 selects all triangles 

• Shift Ctrl Alt 4 selects all quads 

• Shift Ctrl Alt 5 selects all non triangle/quad faces. 

These tools are also available in both the 3D view header and Toolbox Select menus. 



Rectangular or Border Select 

Border Select is available in either Edit mode or Object mode. To activate the tool use the B. Use Border 
Select to select a group of objects by drawing a rectangle while holding down LMB 'A In doing this you will 
select all objects that lie within or touch this rectangle. If any object that was last active appears in the group it 
will become selected and active. 

In (Start) Border Select has been activated and is indicated by showing a dotted cross-hair cursor. In 
(Selecting), the selection region is being chosen by drawing a rectangle with the LMB -^. The rectangle is only 
covering cubes "A" and "B". Finally, by releasing LMB Sj the selection is complete; see (Complete). 




Start. 



Selecting. 



Complete. 



Notice in (Complete) that cube "B" is also selected and active. This means that cube "B" was the last active 
object prior to using the Border Select tool. 

Note 

Border select adds to the previous selection, so in order to select only the contents of the rectangle, deselect 
all with A first. In addition, you can use MMB — while you draw the border to deselect all objects within the 



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262 



Basic Mesh Objects 



Lasso region 



rectangle. 



Lasso region 

Lasso select is similar to Border select in that you select objects based on a region, except Lasso is a 
hand-drawn region that generally forms a circular/rounded shaped form; kind of like a lasso. 

Lasso is available in either Edit mode or Object mode. To activate the tool use the Ctrl LMB - while 
dragging. The one difference between Lasso and Border select is that in Object mode Lasso only selects 
objects where the lasso region intersects the objects center. 

To de-select use Shift Ctrl LMB ^- while dragging. 

(Selecting) is an example of using the Lasso select tool. Dragging started at "S", curved around to "B" and 
stopped at "C". Notice that the lasso region included the circle's purple coloured object center. 




Selecting. 



Selected. 



(Selected) is the result with the just the circle selected even though the square was in the lasso region. 



Previous: Manual/Mesh Smoothing 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Basic Mesh Tools 



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263 



Basic Mesh Modelling Basic Mesh Modelling 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.40 



Basic Mesh Modelling 



In this section we will describe some of the most common Mesh editing tools: Extrude, Spin, Spin Dup, 
Screw, Warp and To Sphere. 

Each tool is described using a simple tutorial. Extmde is explained by going through a simple set of steps for 
making a sword. Spin is explained by making a simple wine glass. Spin Dup is explained by making the hour 
mark on a clock face. Screw is explained by literally making a screw. And finally Warp is explained by 
warping some 3D text. 



Extrude 

Mode: Edit Mode Editing context F9 
Panel: Mesh Tools Extrude 
Hotkey: E 



One tool of paramount importance for working with Meshes is the Extrude command (E). This command 
allows you to create cubes from rectangles and cylinders from circles, as well as easily create such things as 
tree Umbs. Although the process is quite intuitive, the principles behind Extrude are fairly elaborate as 
discussed below. 

• First, the algorithm determines the outside edge-loop of the Extmde; that is, which among the 
selected edges will be changed into faces. By default, the algorithm considers edges belonging to two 
or more selected faces as internal, and hence not part of the loop. 

• The edges in the edge-loop are then changed into faces. 

• If the edges in the edge-loop belong to only one face in the complete mesh, then all of the selected 
faces are duplicated and linked to the newly created faces. For example, rectangles will result in cubes 
during this stage. 

• In other cases, the selected faces are linked to the newly created faces but not duplicated. This 
prevents undesired faces from being retained 'inside' the resulting mesh. This distinction is extremely 
important since it ensures the construction of consistently coherent, closed volumes at all times when 
using Extrude. 

• Edges not belonging to selected faces, which form an 'open' edge-loop, are duplicated and a new face 
is created between the new edge and the original one. 

• Single selected vertices which do not belong to selected edges are duplicated and a new edge is 
created between the two. 

Grab mode is automatically started when the Extrude algorithm terminates, so newly created faces, edges, and 
vertices can be moved around with the mouse. Extrude is one of the most frequently used modelling tools in 
Blender. It's simple, straightforward, and easy to use, yet very powerful. The following short lesson describes 
how to build a sword using Extrude. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 264 



Basic Mesh Modelling 



The Blade 



The Blade 



• Start Blender and delete the default cube. In top view (NumPad 7) add a mesh circle with eight 
vertices. Move (G) the vertices so they match the configuration shown in Deformed circle, to become 
the blade cross section.. 



1 




B 


S9 


51 


r-SM 


^^K. 










1 






















1^ 




^ 




^ 


\^ 








-_ 




1 











/^, 













[ 
























lu 




k^ 


;_ .-■ 


^^ 


^^1^^ 


^^ 


^^^ 


.1 _ ji 


^^ 





Deformed circle, to become the blade cross section. 

• Select all the vertices (A) and scale them down with the S so the shape fits in two grid units. Switch to 
front view with NumPad 1 . 





Beauty 1 Short 1 Subdivide llnnervert =| 


Noise 


Hash 


Xsort 


FraetiJ 


To Sphere 


Smooth 


Spiit 


nip Norma 


Rem Doub 


Limit: 0.001 Ihreshold: 0.010 | , 


Extrude | ( 


Serew 


Spin 


Spin Dup ' 


Oegr: 90.00 


. Steps: 9 t 


. Turns: 1 • 


Keep Original 


— WrBTwai^^^B 


Extrude Dup | Offset: 1.00 -1 1 


rjoin Trisingies Threshoid 
[beiimit UV, Deiimit Vc , Deiirnit Sh 


0.000 
Deiimit M , 




_^ ■ 



Extrude button in EditButtons context. 

• The shape we've created is the base of the blade. Using Extrude we'll create the blade in a few simple 
steps. With all vertices selected press E, or click the Extrude button in the Mesh Tools Panel of the 
Editing Context (F9 - Extrude button in EditButtons context.). 




Extrude confirmation box. 

• A box will pop up asking Ok? Extrude {Extrude confirmation box. ). Click this text or press Enter to 
confirm, otherwise move the mouse outside or press Esc to exit. If you now move the mouse you'll 
see that Blender has dupUcated the vertices, connected them to the original ones with edges and faces, 
and has entered grab mode. 



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Basic Mesh Modelling 



The Blade 



























































































































































































































































































































































































































































■, 












■^ 


^' 








^ 















The Blade 



• Move the new vertices up 30 units, constraining the movement with Ctrl, then click LMB ?? to 
confirm their new position and scale them down a little bit with the S (The Blade). 

• Press E again to extrude the tip of the blade, then move the vertices five units up. To make the blade 
end in one vertex, scale the top vertices down to 0.000 (hold Ctrl for this) and press W>Remove 
Doubles (Mesh Edit Menu) or click the Rem Doubles button in the EditButtons (F9). Blender will 
inform you that it has removed seven of the eight vertices and only one vertex remains. The blade is 
complete! (The completed blade) 



Specials 


W 


f 








Subdivide 
Subdivide Mult! 
Subdivide Mult! Fractal 


r 










F 




1 






Subdivide Smooth 
Merge 






/ 


T ' 








/ 








Remove Doubles 














Hide 














Reveal 
Select Swap 


























Flip Normals 
Smooth 
Bevel 
Set Smooth 






/ 


\ 














_^^ 


The completed blade 


Set Solid 




Blend From Shape 




Propagate To All Shapes 




Select Vertex Path 















Mesh Edit Menu 



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266 



Basic Mesh Modelling 



The Handle 



The Handle 



• Leave edit mode and move the blade to the side. Add a UVsphere with 16 segments and rings and 
deselect all the vertices with the A. 







I 




\ \ w i 



UV sphere for the handle: vertices to be removed 

• Borderselect the top three rings of vertices with B and delete them with X» Vertices {UV sphere for 
the handle: vertices to be removed ). 



Select the top ring of vertices and extrude them. Move the ring up four units and scale them up a bit 
{First extrusion for the handle), then extrude and move four units again twice and scale the last ring 
down a bit {Complete handle). 




P 



ii\ I I ! 






: 



First extrusion for the handle 



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267 



Basic Mesh Modelling 



The Hilt 



— iiS 

■ — ^'fH 

l iil 



Complete handle 



• Leave EditMode and scale the entire handle down so that it's in proportion with the blade. Place it just 
under the blade. 



The Hilt 

By now you should be used to the 'extrude>move>scale' sequence, so try to model a nice hilt with it. Start out 
with a cube and extrude different sides a few times, scaling them where needed. You should be able to get 
something like that shown in {Complete Hilt). 




Complete Hilt 

After texturing, the sword looks like {Finished sword, with textures and materials). 



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268 



Basic Mesh Modelling 



Mirror 




Finished sword, with textures and materials 

As you can see, Extrude is a very powerful tool that allows you to model relatively complex objects very 
quickly; the entire sword was created in less than one half hour. Getting the hang of 'extrude>move>scale' will 
make your hfe as a Blender modeler a lot easier. 

Mirror 

Mode: Edit Mode, Object Mode 

Hotkey: M in Edit Mode; Ctrl M in Object Mode 

Menu: In Edit Mode : 

geometry of the Object (mesh/curve/surface) af Mirror af Axis corresponding to the wanted transformation 

orientation 

In Object Mode : 

Object af Mirror af Local axis 

The mirror tool is the exact equivalent of scaling by -1 to flip Objects, Vertice, Edges, Faces around one 
chosen pivot point and in the direction of one chosen axis only it is faster/handier. 
Let's see this in detail. 

In Edit l\/lode 

Pivot point 



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269 



Basic Mesh Modelling 



In Edit Mode 



Pivot: 

♦ Active Object 

%* Individual Centers 

4" 3D Cursor 

Median Point 

O Bounding Box Center 

Pivot points 

Pivot points must be set tirst. To learn more about the Pivot points see this page 

Pivot points will become the center of symmetry. 

If the widget is turned on it will always show where the Pivot point is. 



Transformation orientation 




The available tranform orientations for mirroring in Edit mode. 

Transformation orientations are found on the 3D area header, next to the Widget buttons. They decide of 
which coordinate system wiU rule the mirroring. For mirroring the available transformation orientations are: 

• View, i.e. the coordinate system of the view plane of the 3D area where the transformation will occur. 

• Normal, i.e. the coordinate system based on the direction and location of normals for Meshes; 

• Local, i.e. the coordinate system of the Object itself; 

• Global, i.e. the coordinate system of the World; 



Axis of symmetry 



Mirror Axis 


Y Global 


Z Global 


X Local ' 


Y Local 


Z Local 


X View 


Y View 


Z View 



For each transformation orientation one symmetry axis 

For each transformation orientation one of its axis along which the mirroring will occur. 

As we can see the possibilities are infinite and the freedom complete: we can position the Pivot point at any 

location around which we want the mirroring to occur, chose one transformation orientation and then one axis 



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270 



Basic Mesh Modelling 



In Edit Mode 



on It. 



Here are three examples given to help figuring out what needs to be done and what result can be expected. In 
each case the whole geometry was duplicated with Shift D and the resulting copy was mirrored. 









1 


IP 


nil 






^^^^Rat 




i 


V 


1 








^ ■ 


ir 


1 


^Kt*^ 


a 

\ 




■L 


_^^^l 










^^^^HHF 


■ 




p. M 


4 


1 


Hr.<^ 








m^m^ 






B*x." '^w^^BHF^ 


1 












M 


j] -r VHW S 


«sci MHi i Aeuhmoik -K# -1 |i* ■h'-l I&I* L^ simiii si |^ 



Mirror around the Individual center and along the Global Y axis. 



On Mirror around the Individual center... the Pivot point default to Median point of the selection of vertices 
in Edit mode. This is a special case of the Edit mode as explained on the Pivot point page . The chosen 
transformation orientation is Global and the chosen axis is Y. 




J# '1 "^ y«v Seiaci M»ir [^Eunwiiai =-| ; # ^| l-^ ^h'^ l foft \,j,i- Loca] ?! [^ 



Mirror around the 3D Cursor and along the Local X axis. 



On Mirror around the 3D cursor... the Pivot point is the 3D Cursor, the transformation orientation is Local, 
a.k.a. the Object space, and the axis of transformation is X. 



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271 



Basic Mesh Modelling 



In Object Mode 




j^+Hf!»r atsariMMa Mwh j^Eam^'ade Cy^i^S ' '"^' ^ fefe ' 'Vi™ l#. 



Mirror around an active vertex and along the View X axis 



On Mirror around an active vertex... the vertex at the very tip of the spout is the Pivot point by choosing the 
Active Object option and then A to select all vertice followed by RMB '- twice on that vertex to make it 
active. The transformation orientation is View and the axis of transformation is X. 



In Object Mode 

Mirroring is also available in Object mode but it is limited to Local (Object space) transformations. Any other 
orientation gives wrong results. The following example shows what could go wrong and what a proper result 
should look like. 




H 

Only Local space works for mirroring in Object space. 

On Only Local space works... the red teapot is a mirrored copy of the blue one along the Global Y axis. 
Because the blue teapot is rotated relatively to the World this mirror resulted into an upside down copy of the 
original. Any transformation that is made at an angle from the Local axes of the transformed object will give 
wrong results. 

The green teapot is also a copy of the blue one but is has been mirrored along the Local Z axis of that same 
blue teapot, resulting in a perfect mirror copy (colors were added afterward). 



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Basic Mesh Modelling 



In Conclusion 




Mirror menu in Object mode. 



On Mirror menu in Object mode we can see the choice of the three Local axes which are the only ones usable. 
Notice also the shortcuts to the extreme right. 



MirrnrAxis 

V Local 
Z Local 



Pop-up menu after using Ctrl M 

On Pop-up menu... we see the same choices which pop up in the 3D area after using the Ctrl M shortcut. 



In Conclusion 

To summarize our survey of the Mirror tool a few recommendations. 

Do not mistake it for the Mirror modifier . 

Also remember that the results are the exact equivalent of a scale=-l along an axis of the current transform 

orientation (TO). The advantage of the Mirror tool over this is that it is faster to use and almost foolproof. 



Spin and SpinDup 



Spin and Spin Dup are two very powerful modelling tools allowing you to easily create bodies of revolution 
or axially periodic structures. 



Spin 

Mode: Edit Mode Editing context F9 



Panel: Mesh Tools at' Spin 



Use the Spin tool to create the sort of objects that you would produce on a lathe. (This tool is often called a 



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Basic Mesh Modelling 



In Conclusion 



"lathe"-tool or a "sweep"-tool in the literature, for this reason.) 

First, create a mesh representing the profile of your object. If you are modeling a hollow object, it is a good 
idea to thicken the outline. (Glass profile) shows the profile for a wine glass we will model as a 
demonstration. 




Glass profile 

In EditMode, with all the vertices selected, access the Editing Context (F9). The Degr button in the Mesh 
Tools panel indicates the number of degrees to spin the object (in this case we want a full 360° sweep). 



Beauty I Short I Subdivide llnnervert 



Noise I HSh I Xsort I Fracta] 

Jo Sphere Smooth Split Rip N orma 

Rem Doub Limit : .00 1 hreshoid : .0 1 



Extrude 



Serew 



Oegr: 90.00 Steps: 9 



Spin 



l^eep Original 



Spin Dup 



Turns: 1 



Extrude Dup | Offset: 1.00 »! 



Join TriariBles | Threshoid 0.000 
Deiimit UVl Deiimit Vc | Deiimit Sh | Deiimit"¥ 



Spin Buttons 

The Steps button specifies how many profiles there will be in the sweep (Spin Buttons). 

Like Spin Duplicate (discussed in the next section), the effects of Spin depend on the placement of the 3D 
cursor and which window (view) is active. We will be rotating the object around the cursor in the top view. 
Switch to the top view with NumPad 7. 




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Basic Mesh Modelling 



In Conclusion 



Glass profile, top view in edit mode, just before spinning. 

• Place the cursor along the center of the profile by selecting one of the vertices along the center, and 
snapping the 3D cursor to that location with Shift S af Cursor->Selection {Glass profile, top view in 
edit mode, just before spinning.) shows the wine glass profile from top view, with the cursor correctly 
positioned. 



f ' VAVW.blender.org £31 Ve:3B-3B | Fa:0-0 | Mem:1.30r 



Mesh data - Vertex and face numbers. 

Before continuing, note the number of vertices in the profile. You'll find this information in the Info bar at the 
top of the Blender interface {Mesh data - Vertex and face numbers.). 




Spinned profile 



Click the "Spin" button. If you have more than one window open, the cursor will change to an arrow 
with a question mark and you will have to click in the window containing the top view before 
continuing. If you have only one window open, the spin will happen immediately. Spinned profile 
shows the result of a successful spin. 




U"J3 






Seam vertex selection 



The spin operation leaves duplicate vertices along the profile. You can select all vertices at the seam 
with Box select (B) shown in {Seam vertex selection) and perform a Remove Doubles operation. 



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275 



Basic Mesh Modelling In Conclusion 



Notice the selected vertex count before and after the Remove Doubles operation {Vertex count after removing 
doubles.). If all goes well, the final vertex count (38 in this example) should match the number of the original 
profile noted in Mesh data - Vertex and face numbers.. If not, some vertices were missed and you will need 
to weld them manually. Or, worse, too many vertices will have been merged. 



HSCE:! fx] • VAW/.blenderorg 231 Ve:146-1406 | Fa:0-1332 | Me 



, cISCEil X .-., VAW/.blender.org 231 Ve:38-129e I Fa:0-1332 I Mer 

B i ll fl — 1 J ^ J 



Vertex count after removing doubles. 



Specials 

Subdivide 

Subdivide Mult! 

Subdivide Mult! Fractai 

Subdivide Smooth 

Merge 

Remove Doubles 

Hide 

Reveal 

Seiect Swap 

Flip Normais 

Smooth 

Bevei 

Set Smooth 

Set Soiid 

Blend From Shape 

Propagate To All Shapes 

Select Vertex Path 



Merge menu 

Merging two vertices in one 

To merge (weld) two vertices together, select both of them by holding Shift and RMB ^- on them. Press S to 
start scaling and hold down Ctrl while scaling to scale the points down to units in the X,Y and Z axis. LMB 
B to complete the scaling operation and click the Remove Doubles button in the EditButtons window (also 
available with W af Remove Doubles). Alternatively, you can press W and select Merge from the appearing 
Menu {Merge menu). Then, in a new menu, choose whether the merged vertex will have to be at the center of 
the selected vertices or at the 3D cursor. The first choice is better in our case. 



All that remains now is to recalculate the normals by selecting all vertices and pressing Ctrl N and selecting 
Recalc Normals Outside from the pop-up menu. At this point you can leave EditMode and apply materials or 
smoothing, set up some lights, a camera and make a rendering. {Final render of the glasses.) shows our wine 
glass in a finished state. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 276 



Basic Mesh Modelling 



SpinDup 




Final render of the glasses. 

SpinDup 

Mode: Edit Mode Editing context F9 
Panel: Mesh Tools Spin Dup 



The Spin Dup tool is a great way to quickly make a series of copies of an object along a circle. For example, if 
you have modeled a clock, and you now want to add hour marks. Model just one mark, in the 12 o'clock 
position {Hour mark indicated by the arrow). Select the mark and switch to the Editing Context with F9. 




Hour mark indicated by the arrow 

Set the number of degrees in the Degr: NumButton in the Mesh Tools panel to 360. We want to make 12 
copies of our object, so set the Steps to 12 {Spin Dup buttons). 



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Basic Mesh Modelling 



SpinDup 



Beauty I Short I Subdivide llnnervert 



Noise 



Hasli 



Xsort 



FractaJ 



Jo Sphere 
Rem Doub 



Smooth 



Split 



l^ip Norma 



Limit: 0.001 hreshoid: 0.010 



Extrude 



Serew 



Spin 
Degr: 30.00 Steps: 9 



Spin Dup 



• Turns: 1 



Keep Original 



Extrude Dup | : Offset: 1 .00 | 



Join TriariBles 



"mreshoid 0.000 



Ij 



Delimit UV| Delimit Vc | Delimit Sh | Deiimitlvr 



Spin Dup buttons 




Mesh selected and ready to be SpinDuped 

• Switch the view to the one in which you wish to rotate the object by using the keypad. Note that the 
result of the Spin Dup command depends on the view you are using when you press the button. 

• Position the 3D cursor at the center of rotation. The objects will be rotated around this point. Note: To 
place the cursor at the precise location of an existing object or vertex, select the object or vertex, and 
press Shift S Cursor->Selection. 

• Select the object you wish to duplicate and enter EditMode with Tab. 

• In EditMode, select the vertices you want to duplicate (note that you can select all vertices with A or 
all of the vertices linked to the point under the cursor with L). See {Mesh selected and ready to be 
SpinDuped). 



• Press the Spin Dup button. If you have more than one 3DWindow open, you will notice the mouse 
cursor change to an arrow with a question mark. Click in the window in which you want to perform 
your rotation. In this case, we want to use the front window {View selection for Spin Dup.). 

If the view you want is not visible, you can dismiss the arrow/question mark with Esc until you can switch a 
window to the appropriate view with the keypad. 



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SpinDup 



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View selection for Spin Dup. 







Edges 
Faces 




Removal of duplicated object 

When spin-duplicating an object 360 degrees, a duplicate object is placed at the same location of the first 
object, producing duplicate geometry. 

You will notice that after clicking the Spin Dup button, the original geometry remains selected. To delete it, 
simply press X Vertices. The source object is deleted, but the duplicated version beneath it remains (Removal 
of duplicated object). 

If you like a little math you needn't bother with duplicates because you can avoid them at the start. Just make 
11 duplicates, not 12, and not around the whole 360°, but just through 330° (that is 360*11/12). This way no 
duplicate is placed over the original object. 

In general, to make n duplicates over 360 degrees without overlapping, just spin one less object over 
360*(«-l)/« degrees. 

{Final Clock Render.) shows the final rendering of the clock. 



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Screw 




Final Clock Render. 



Screw 

Mode: Edit Mode Editing context F9 

Panel: Mesh Tools Screw 

The Screw tool combines a repetitive "Spin" with a translation, to generate a screw-like, or spiral-shaped, 
object. Use this tool to create screws, springs, or shell-shaped structures. 




How to make a spring: before (left) and after (right) the Screw tool. 
The method for using the "Screw" function is strict: 

• Set the SDWindow to front view (NumPad 1). 

• Place the SDCursor at the position through which the rotation axis must pass. The rotation axis will be 
vertical. 

• Your mesh object must contain both the profile to be spun and an open line of vertices to define how 
the profile is translated as it is spun. In the simplest case, the open line also serves as the profile to be 
spun; alternatively, a separate closed line (e.g., a circle as shown in the figure) can be specified as the 



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Warp Tool 



profile. The open line can be a single edge, as shown in the figure, or a half circle, or whatever. You 
need only ensure that the line has two Tree' ends. (At a 'free' end, a vertex is connected to only one 
other vertex.) The Screw function uses these two points to calculate the translation vector that is 
added to the "Spin" for each full rotation {How to make a spring: before (left) and after (right) the 
Screw tool). If these two vertices are at the same location, this creates a normal "Spin". Otherwise, 
interesting things happen! 

• Select all vertices that will participate in the "Screw". 

• Assign the NumButtons Steps: and Turns: in the Mesh Tools Panel the desired values. Steps: 
determines how many times the profile is repeated within each 360° rotation, while Turns: sets the 
number of complete 360° rotations to be performed. 

• Press Screw 




Enlarging screw (right) obtained with the profile on the left. 

If there are multiple 3DWindows, the mouse cursor changes to a question mark. Click on the 3DWindow in 
which the Screw is to be executed. 

If the two 'free' ends are aligned vertically, the result is as seen above. If they are not, the vertical component 
of the translation vector remains equal to the vertical component of the vector joining the two 'free' vertices, 
while the horizontal component generates an enlargement (or reduction) of the screw as shown in {Enlarging 
screw (right) obtained with the profile on the left.). (In this example the open line serves as the profile as well 
as defining the translation.) 



Warp Tool 

Mode: Edit Mode Editing context F9 

Panel: Mesh Tools Warp 

The Warp tool is a little-known tool in Blender, partly because it is not found in the Edit Buttons window, 
and partly because it is only useful in very specific cases. At any rate, it is not something that the average 



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Basic Mesh Modelling 



Warp Tool 



Blender-user needs to use every day. 

A piece of text wrapped into a ring shape is useful when creating flying logos, but it would be difficult to 
model without the use of the warp tool. For our example, we'll warp the phrase "Amazingly Warped Text" 
around a sphere. 

• First add the sphere. 

• Then add the text in front view, in the Editing Context and Curve and Surface Panel set Extrude to 0.1 
- making the text 3D, and set Bevel Depth to 0.01, adding a nice bevel to the edge. Make the Bev 
Resol 1 or 2 to have a smooth bevel and lower the resolution so that the vertex count will not be too 
high when you subdivide the object later on using {Curve and Surface and Font) panels. 

• Convert the object to curves, then to a mesh, (Alt C twice) because the warp tool does not work on 
text or on curves. 

• Subdivide the mesh twice (W Subdivide Multi 2), so that the geometry will change shape cleanly, 
without artifacts. 



UV Orm 



h DefResolUiE - Set 



Print Len 



Centre Centre New 



Centre Cursor 



3D 



Path Len: 100 



Curve Path Curve Folio 



CurveStretch 



FathDist Offs 



Width: 1 .000 



Extrude: 0.000 



Eevei Depth: 0.000 



Bev Resol: 



BevOb: 



Taper Ob: 



u^^i 


Load II ■!buiitin> "'flj 


Insert TeKt |[ Lorem | |uJ|E i J 




■SB Center 1 Right |justif|/| Rush | To Upper | 



Text On Curve: 



Fast Edit 



< 1 TeKtFrame: 1 • ] 


Insert 


Delete 


'X:0.00' 


V;0.00 


Width: 0.00 


Height: 0.00 



Ob Family: 



Size: 1 .000 


Linedist: 1 .000 


Word spacing: 1 .000 


Spacing: 1 .000 


X offset: 0.00 


• UL position: 0.000 ■ 


« Shear: 0.000 


■■ V offset: 0.00 


. UL height: 0.050 ■ 



Curve and Surface . Font . 

Switch to top view and move the mesh away from the 3D cursor. This distance defines the radius of the warp. 
(See Top view of text and sphere.) 

























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Place the mesh in Edit Mode (Tab) and press A to select all vertices. Press Shift W to activate the warp tool. 
Move the mouse up or down to interactively define the amount of warp. {Warped text). Holding down Ctrl 
makes warp change in steps of five degrees. 



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Basic Mesh Modelling 



To Sphere 






Warped text 

Now you can switch to camera view, add materials, lights and render (Final rendering). 




Final rendering 

To Sphere 

Mode: Edit Mode Editing context F9 
Panel: Mesh Tools To Sphere 
Hotkey: Ctrl Shift S 



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Basic Mesh Modelling 



To Sphere 



Another of the lesser known tools is To Sphere (Ctrl Shift S). This command allows the creation of spheres 
from subdivided cubes. 

First, start with a Cube . I will start with from fresh by Erasing All (Ctrl X). 



• Press Tab to switch into Edit Mode. 




Jo Sphere Smooth Split Flip N orma 
Rem Doub Limit : .00 1 hreshold : .0 1 



Extrude 



Serew 



Spin 



Spin Dup 



Oegr: 30.00 Steps: 9 



Turns: 1 



Keep Original 



Extrude Dup | Offset: 1.00 ■! 



Join TriainBles | Threshold 0.000 '| 
Delimit UV| Delimit Vc | Delimit Sh | Delimit"¥t 



Extrude button in EditButtons context. 

• Make sure all the vertices of the cube are selected by pressing A twice. Then, go to the Editing Panel 
by pressing F9. You should be able to see the Mesh Tools section now. 



• Subdivide the cube by pressing the Subdivide button in the Mesh Tools section, or by pressing W and 
clicking "Subdivide". You can do this as many time as you want; the more you subdivide, the 
smoother your sphere will be. 



Click the To Sphere button now in the Mesh Tools. Select "100" to make your sphere. Alternatively, 
you can press Ctrl Shift S and type in "1.000" to achieve the same effect. 



The completed sphere! 



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Basic Mesh Modelling 



To Sphere 




Finished low-res sphere ! 



Previous: Manual/Selecting Meshes Contents Next: Manual/Advanced Mesh Tools 



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Advanced Mesh Modelling 



Advanced Mesh Modelling 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4 

Editor's Note: this is more of a tutorial than a user manual, but we don't have anything else at the moment that 
covers the topic— Roger 02:17, 29 May 2007 (CEST) 



Advanced Mesh Modelling 



Symmetrical Modelling 



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A plane 

You often need to model objects which exhibit some sort of symmetry. For radial, rotational or multiple 
symmetry the best approach is to carefully model one base structure and then, as a last step, duplicate the base 
cell via SpinDup or whichever command is most appropriate. For objects with bilateral symmetry, those with 
one plane of symmetry, such as most animals (humans included) and many machines, the above method 
implies modelling one half of the object, and then mirroring a duplicate of the first half to get the whole 
object. Since it is usually difficult to attain correct proportions by only modelling a half, it is possible to 
duplicate the half before it is completely modelled, and act on one half and automatically update the other. 




Right half. 

In Front View add a plane or whatever (A plane.). Consider it as a starting point for one half of the object. 
Let's say the object's right half, which for us in frontal view is on the left of the screen. The plane of symmetry 
is the yz plane. Move the mesh, in EditMode, so that it is completely on the left of center. Delete some nodes, 
and add some others, to give it its general shape, as in Right half.. 



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Advanced Mesh Modelling 



Advanced Mesh Modelling 





1 


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iPar: | 




LocX: 0.000 


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Mirroring the linked duplicate. 

Now switch to ObjectMode and, with the half selected, make a linked duplicate with Alt D. Press ESC to exit 
from Grab Mode and press N. In the Numeric input panel which appears, set SizeX to -1 {Mirroring the 
linked duplicate.). This effectively mirrors the linked duplicate with respect to the Object's center, hence the 
importance of keeping the center on the plane of symmetry. 




Editing one half. 

Having duplicated the Object as a linked duplicate implies that the two objects share the same mesh data, 
which is implicitly mirrored by the unitary negative scaling along the x axis, which is normal to the symmetry 
plane. Now you can edit either of the two halves. Since they share mesh data any change, be it an extrude, 
delete, face loop cut etc... immediately reflects on the other side {Editing one half.). 

By carefully editing one half, and possibly by using a blueprint as a background to provide guidelines, very 
interesting results can be achieved (A head. Left: EditMode; Center: ObjectMode; Right: Joined., left). 



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Advanced Mesh Modelling 



Noise 




m 

A head. Left: EditMode; Center: ObjectMode; Right: Joined. 

As a final step, when symmetrical modelling is complete, the two halves must be selected and joined into a 
single Object (Ctrl J). This makes the seam (very visible in A head. Left: EditMode; Center: ObjectMode; 
Right: Joined., center) disappear. Once you have a single object (A head. Left: EditMode; Center: 
ObjectMode; Right: Joined., right), you can start modelling the subtle asymmetries which every being has. 

Note 

In Blender 2.33 and earlier versions the OpenGL implementation causes mirrored linked duplicates to have 
wrong normals, so that one of the two halves is black. This is fixed in Blender 2.34, but older versions can 
use this technique anyway by setting the mesh to single sided while symmetrical modelling is used. 



Noise 






. Eeaul^l Short I Subdivide llnnervert 



Noise 



Hasli 



Xsort 



FractaJ 



,To Sphere Smooth | Split |Rip Normai 



Rem Doub h Limit: 0.001 hreshold: 0.010 



Extrude 



Screw 



Spirn 



Spin Dup 



Oegr: 90.00 - Steps: 9 > 



1 Turns: 1 



Keep Original 



_EKtrude Dup 



Offset: 1 .00 



_ Join Triangl es | Thres hold 0.000 
Delimit UV Delimit Vc I Delimit Sh , Delimit 



nitlvlT 



Noise button in EditButtons 

The Noise function allows you to displace vertices in meshes based on the grey-values of a texture applied to 
it. So, you have to have a texture assigned to the material, even if that texture is not Mapped To anything. In 



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288 



Advanced Mesh Modelling Example 

your texture, you should enable No RGB to convert color textures to a gradient. You should also have 
subdivided your object enough to have many vertices to act on. 

Use Noise to generate great landscapes or make mesh surfaces more real-world (pitted, un-smooth). The 
Noise function displaces vertices in the object's Z-Axis and negative Z-Axis only. To deform your mesh's 
other dimensions, simply rotate your object and apply rotation, or rotate the vertices in edit mode, and apply 
Noise. Then, rotate it back again to get your original orientation. 

Noise permanently modifies your mesh according to the material texture. Each click adds onto the current 
mesh. For a temporary effect, map the texture to Dw/7lacement for a render-time effect. In object/edit mode 
your object will appear normal, but will render deformed. 



Example 



Specials 

Subdivide 

Subdivide Mult! 

Subdivide Mult! Fractai 

Subdivide Smooth 

Merge 

Remove Doubles 

Hide 

Reveal 

Seiect Swap 

Flip Normais 

Smooth 

Bevei 

Set Smooth 

Set Soiid 

Blend From Shape 

Propagate To All Shapes 

Select Vertex Path 



Subdivide tool 

Add a plane and subdivide it at least five times. To do that you can either use the Subdivide or Subdivide 
Multi entry in the Specials menu accessed via W; see {Subdivide Tool). Using Subdivide Multi is faster and 
easier. Select Subdivide Multi and enter 5 for the number of cuts popup dialog. 

Now add a material and assign a Clouds texture to it. Adjust the NoiseSize: to 0.50 0. Choose white as the 
color for the material and black as the texture color, to give us good contrast for the noise operation. 

Ensure that you are in EditMode and that all vertices are selected, then switch to the Editing Context F9. Press 
the Noise button in the Mesh Tools Panel (Noise button in EditButtons) several times until the landscape looks 
nice. {Noise application process) is an example of applying the noise tool. From top left to bottom right: Plane 
with texture, sub-divided plane, "Noise" button hit 2, 4, 6 and 8 times, shows the original - textured - plane 
as well as what happens as you press Noise. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 289 



Advanced Mesh Modelling 



Example 




Noise application process. 

Remove the texture from the landscape now because it will disturb the look. Then add some lights, some 
water, smooth the terrain, and so on. {Noise generated landscape). 




Noise generated landscape 



Note 



The noise displacement always occurs along the mesh's z coordinate, which is along the direction of the z axis 
of the Object local reference. 



Previous: Manual/Basic Mesh Tools 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Edge and Face Tools 



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290 



Edge and Face Tools Edge and Face Tools 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4 

Edge and Face Tools 

Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) 
Hotkey: Ctrl E or K 
Menu: Mesh Edges 

Description 

Loop/Cut Menu 



Loop Cut(CTRL-R) 



Knife (Exact) 
Knife (Midpoints) 
Knife (Multicut) 

Loop/Cut Menu 

A key issue in modelling is the necessity to add vertices in certain zones of the mesh, and this is often 
regarded as splitting, or adding, edges in a given region. 

Loops often play an important role in this process. For a brief introduction to Loops please refer to Edge and 
Face Loops . 

Many Edge Tools are grouped in a menu which is linked to K hotkey {Loop/Cut Menu), but each individual 
tool has its own hotkey as well. 

Edge Specials 



Ciear Seam 
Rotate Edge CW 
Rotate Edge CCW 
Loopcut 
Edge Slide 
Edge Loop Seiect 
Edge Ring Select 
Loop to Region 
Region to Loop 

Edge Specials Menu 

Edge Tools for selection and manipulation are grouped in a menu which is linked to Ctrl E hotkey {Edge 
Specials Menu). 

Edge Slide, for example, slides the vertices in the loop along the edges. If you select a loop on an egg-shaped 
object, for example, sliding the vertices will move them, not left/right or up/down, but instead proportionally 
move them as if they were sliding along the edge using the edge as a guide. More information on selecting 
loops is found below. 

Tools don't work on Modifiers 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 291 



Edge Selection Edge Selection 

In general, you cannot use any tool on a mirrored side, as that side is just a mirror image of the primary side. 
Tools also do not work on subsurfed or multires "edges" shown; use the tool by working on 
vertices/edges/faces on the primary part of your mesh when using a modifier. 



Edge Selection 

Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) 
Hotkey: RMB 8 

Description 
Vertex Edge F^ce 



./ 



Select modes. 

In Edit Mode there are a few ways to select edges: implicitly, explicitly, looping or by Region Selection . 
Implicit means you describe a more complex element using less complex elements. For example, to describe 
an edge you need to specify two vertices and to describe a face you need to specify three or more vertices or 
three or more edges. 

Region Selection is a tool that allows selection of edges and faces based on an intersection with a rectangular, 
circular or lasso 2D region. 



Explicit Edge Selection 

To select an edge use edge select mode and RMB '- click on an edge. To select additional edges use 
Shift RMB 3. 

Implicit Edge Selection 




Implicit Edge selection. 

The other way to select an edge is to select two vertices that bound the edge of interest. You are 
implying which edge by selecting its bounding vertices. To select an edge implicitly use vertex select 
mode in combination with RMB '-^ and/or Shift RMB '■-: 

In (Implicit Edge selection), the cube on the left shows an edge selected using vertices. The cube on 
the right is what shows when you switch to edge select mode. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 292 



Edge Loop Selection Edge Loop Selection 

Options 

If you are in solid, shaded, or textured viewport shading mode (not bounding box or wireframe), you will have 
a fourth button that looks like a cube. When enabled, this limits your ability to select based on visible edges 
(as if the object was solid), and prevents you from accidentally selecting, moving, deleting or otherwise 
working on backside or hidden edges. 



Edge Loop Selection 

Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) > Vertex Select Mode or Edge Select Mode 
Hotkey: Alt RMB '- or Ctrl E, 7 (based on existing edge selection) 
Menu: Select Edge Loop (based on existing edge selection) 



Description 

Holding Alt while selecting an edge selects a loop of edges that are connected in a line end to end, passing 
through the edge under the mouse pointer. Holding Shift while clicking adds to the current selection. Edge 
loops can also be selected based on an existing edge selection, using a€~Edge Loop SelectaC^"^ in the Edge 
Specials menu. 



Examples 




Longitudinal and latitudinal edge loops 

The left sphere shows an edge that was selected longitudinally. Notice how the loop is open. This is because 
the algorithm hit the vertices at the poles and terminated because the edge at the pole connects to more than 3 
other edges. However, the right sphere shows an edge that was selected latitudinally and has formed a closed 
loop. This is because the algorithm hit the first edge that it started with. 



Technical Details 

The algorithm for selection is as follows: 

• First check to see if the selected element connects to only 3 other edges. 

• If the edge in question has already been added to the list, the selection ends. 

• Of the 3 edges that connect to the current edge, the ones that share a face with the current edge are 
eliminated and the remaining edge is added to the list and is made the current edge. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 293 



Edge Loop Selection 



Loop to Region and Region to Loop 



Loop to Region and Region to Loop 

Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) 

Hotkey: Ctrl E, 9 and Ctrl E, 

Menu: Select Loop to Region, Region to Loop 



Description 

Examines the current set of selected edges and seperates them into groups of 'loops' that each bisect the mesh 
into two parts. Then for each loop it selects the smaller 'half of the mesh. 



Examples - Loop to Region: 




Selection 



Loop to Region 




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294 



Edge Ring Selection 



Edge Ring Selection 



Selection 



This tool handles multiple loops fine as you can see. 




Selection 

Example - Region to Loop: 



This tool handles 'holes' just fine as well. 



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This is the 'logical inverse' of loop to region. 

Edge Ring Selection 

Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) > Edge Select Mode 
Hotkey: CtrlAlt RMB 9 

Description 

In edge select mode, holding Ctrl Alt while selecting an edge selects a sequence of edges that are not 
connected, but on opposite sides to each other continuing along a face loop. Using the same command in 
vertex select mode will select such a face loop implicitly. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



295 



Face Selection 
Examples 



Face Selection 




A selected edge loop, and a selected edge ring 

In (A selected edge loop, and a selected edge ring), the same edge was clicked on but two different "groups of 
edges" were selected, based on the different commands. One is based on edges during computation and the 
other is based on faces. 



Technical Details 

Edge ring selection is based on the same algorithm as in Face Loop Selection , though the end results differ as 
only edges are selected. 



Face Selection 

Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) 
Hotkey: RMB 9 



Description 

In EditMode there are a few ways to select Faces: implicitly, explicitly, looping or by region. Implicit means 
you describe a more complex element using less complex elements. For example, to describe an edge you 
need to specify two vertices and to describe a face you need to specify three or more vertices or three or more 
edges. 

Explicit Face Selection 

To select a face use Face select mode {Select modes.) and the RMB -. To select additional faces use 
Shift RMB y. 



Implicit Face Selection 




Implicit Face selection. 

Selecting the three or four vertices that bound the face of interest in vertex select mode selects it implicitly. 
{Implicit Face selection) shows a face selected on a cube using vertices the cube of the left. The cube on the 
right is what shows when you switch to Face select mode. 

You can also implicitly select faces by selecting the bounding edges of the face of interest. This will produce 



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296 



Face Loop Selection 



Face Loop Selection 



the same results as selecting vertices. 

Deleting Faces may delete edges and vertices 

If a vertex that defines a selected face is not connected to anything else, and you delete the face, Blender 
deletes the vertex as well as its connecting edges. This is so you don't end up with a bunch of stray vertices 
running around unconnected in 3D space. If you want a vertex and/or an edge to stay, you have first to see it 
(vertices + edges are both visible in vertex select mode; only the edges are visible in edge select mode; 
neither the vertices or the edges are visible in face select mode). Then you must use X > Faces Only or X > 
Edges and Faces, accordingly to what you want to keep of what you see. 



Options 

If you are in solid, shaded, or textured viewport shading mode (not bounding box or wireframe), you will have 
a fourth button that looks like a cube. When enabled, this limits your ability to select from visible faces (as if 
the object was solid), and prevents you from accidentally selecting, moving, deleting or otherwise working on 
backside or hidden faces. 



Face Loop Selection 



Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) > Face Select Mode or Vertex Select Mode 

Hotkey: Alt RMB '-^ (face select mode) or Ctrl Alt RMB C? (vertex select mode) 

In face select mode, holding Alt while selecting an edge selects a loop of faces that are connected in a line end 
to end, along their opposite edges. In vertex select mode, the same can be accomplished by using Ctrl Alt to 
select an edge ring, which selects the face loop implicitly. 

Exam pies 




Face loop selection 



This face loop was selected by clicking with Alt RMB '- on an edge, in face select mode. The loop extends 
perpendicular from the edge that was selected. 



OAOrO 






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OrO 



'\^ 



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1 

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29/01/2009 13.49.52 



297 



Loop Subdivide Loop Subdivide 

Alt versus Ctrl- Alt in Vertex Mode. 

A face loop can also be selected in Vertex select mode, see {Alt versus Ctrl-Alt in Vertex Mode). The edges 
selected in the grid labeled "Alt-RMB" is a result of selecting and edge loop versus selecting an edge ring. 
Because in Vertex Select Mode, selecting opposite edges of a face implicitly selects the entire face, the face 
loop has been selected implicitly. 

Note that in these cases the generated result of the algorithm was vertices because we were in Vertex select 
mode. However, had we had been in Edge select mode the generated result would have been selected edges. 



Technical Details 

The algorithm for selection is as follows: 

• A face loop is made by two neighbouring edge loops. 

• Extends only to quadrilateral faces. 

• Ends when a triangular face is met (and the two bounding edgeloops merge into one). 



Loop Subdivide 

Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) 

Hotkey: Ctrl R 

Menu: Mesh Edges Loop Subdivide... 

Description 

Loop Subdivide splits a loop of faces by inserting a new edge loop intersecting the chosen edge. The tool is 
interactive and has two steps: 

1. Previsualising the cut 

The cut to be made is marked with a magenta coloured line as you move the mouse over the various 
edges. In (Pre-visualising the cut), the mouse cursor was located where the white circle is located. 
This caused the loop line to appear at the mid point of the edge. The to-be-created edge loop stops at 
the poles where the existing face loop terminates. 

2. Sliding the new edge loop 

Once an edge is chosen via LMB ^-, that edge is highlighted in green {Loop Split edge selected) and 

you can move the mouse along the edge to determine where the new edge loop will be placed. This is 

identical to the Edge Slide tool. Clicking LMB t] again confirms and makes the cut at the 

pre- visualised location, or clicking MMB ^ forces the cut to exactly 50%. 

{Loop Split edge completed) shows the new faces and edges, A and B. The view is rotated so that the 

new faces and edges are clearly visible from the top of the sphere. 



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Loop Subdivide 



Options 




Pre-visualising the cut 



3. Loop Split edge completed. 



2. Sliding the new edge loop 



Options 

1. Previsualising the cut 

[ Number of Cuts: 1 (S)mooth: off " 

Pre-visualising (header) 

• Upon initial activation of the tool 3D window header changes to show the "Number of Cuts" (Initial 
Loop Split header). Entering a number with the keyboard, scrolling MW '' or using NumPad + and 
NumPad - changes the number of cuts (maximum of 130). These cuts run parallel with the face loop 
line. 

• S changes the cut to 'smooth' mode. By default, new vertices for the new edge loop are placed exactly 
on the pre-existing edges. This keeps subdivided faces flat, but can distort geometry, particularly 
when using Subdivision Surfaces . If smooth mode is on then new vertices are not placed on the 
previous edge but shifted outwards by a given percentage, similar to the 'Subdivide Smooth' 
command. 

2. Sliding the new edge loop 

• P switches between Proportional and Percentage modes. The default mode is Percentage. 

• In Proportional mode, MW — , or at and af changes the selected edge for calculating a proportion. 

• Holding Ctrl or SHIFT control the precision of the sliding. Ctrl snaps movement to 10% steps per 
move and Shift snaps movement to 1% steps. The default is 5% steps per move. 



Examples 




Loop Example Grid. 

In order to explain Proportional and Percentage modes we can use a very simple mesh layed out like a 2x9 
grid, {Loop Example Grid). The vertices at A and D have been moved in order to emphasize the difference 
between the two modes. The vertices at the level C and B remain unchanged. E is an area of interest when 
looking at Proportional mode. 



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299 



Loop Subdivide Examples 

Percentage mode 

. (P)ercentage: -0.040000 

Percentage header. 

In Percentage mode the 3D window header changes to {Percentage header) showing a number between -1 
and 1 with representing 50% or midway between. 

As you move the mouse the percentage changes and the edge loop line, drawn in yellow, moves as a 
percentage of the distance between the edge marked in green as shown in {25% between), {Mid-way) and 
{89% between). 




25% between 



Mid-way 



89% between 



The yellow loop line is always the same percentage along edge of the edges that are being cut, regardless of 
the edges' lengths. For example, in {Mid-way) the yellow loop line is exactly halfway between vertex A and 
B and it is also exactly halfway between vertex C and D. For {25% between) you can see that the yellow line 
loop is always 25% along each of the cut edges. 



Proportional mode 



Non (P)mp Length: 0.406321 , Press (F) to flip control side 



Proportional header. 

Proportional face loop splitting keeps the shape of the newly cut edge loop the same as one of the edge loops 
that it cuts between, rather than cutting at a percentage along each perpendicular edge. 

In Proportional mode the 3D window header changes to {Proportional header) showing the position along 
the length of the currently selected edge which is marked in green. Movement of the sliding edge loop is 
restricted to this length. As you move the mouse the length indicator in the header changes showing where 
along the length of the edge you are. 

Unlike Percentage mode. Proportional mode treats the edge as having a start and end vertex with the start 
marked by a magenta marker {Vertex Marker). The start vertex (A), can be flipped to the opposite vertex 
using F {Vertex Marker Opposite). 





W~ 


A l\J 


^^^■B^ ^^B 


mSS^m 


^^I^^^H 



Vertex Maiker. 



Vertex Marker Opposite. 



Moving the mouse moves the cut line towards or away from the start vertex, but the loop Une will only move 
as far as the length of the currently selected edge, conforming to the shape of one of the bounding edge loops. 



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300 



Delete Edge Loop 



Delete Edge Loop 



(Proportional Range) shows an example of how the distance is restricted by the length of the current edge 
(B). Looking at (A), you can see that the line loop has moved the same distance. If the line only moves 0.2 
units on the selected edge then the line only moves 0.2 units everywhere else in the face loop region. The 
portion of the line loop at A hasn't gone all the way to the "bottom" because the selected edge is only 0.25 
units in length. The line portion at "A" will not be able to move more than 0.25 units down because the range 
of movement is restricted to the length of the selected edge. 




Proportional Range 

(Proportional Range Flipped) is another example where the start vertex has been flipped while using the same 
selected edge as compared to (Proportional Range). You can see that movement is still restricted to the length 
of the selected edge. The yellow edge loop line stays straight, conforming to the bottom bounding edge loop 
because the cut is placed a constant distance from the bottom edge loop, along the crossed edges. 



yi i\. 





Proportional Range Flipped 



Delete Edge Loop 

Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) 

Hotkey: X or Delete 

Menu: Mesh Edges Delete Edge Loop 



Description 



Erase 

Vertices 

Edges 

Faces 

All 

Edges a Faces 

Only Faces 



Erase Menu. 

Delete Edge Loop allows you to delete a selected edge loop if it is between two other edge loops. This will 
create one face-loop where two previously existed. 



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301 



Knife Subdivide 



Knife Subdivide 



Note 

The Edge Loop option is very different to the Edges option, even if you use it on edges that look like an edge 
loop. Deleting an edge loop merges the surrounding faces together to preserve the surface of the mesh. By 
deleting a chain of edges, the edges are removed, deleting the surrounding faces as well. This will leave holes 
in the mesh where the faces once were. 



Limitations & Worl<-arounds 

For Edge Loop Delete to work correctly, a single edge loop must be selected. The same restrictions as those of 
Edge Slide apply, see Edge Slide for more details. 



Examples 

The selected edge loop on the UV Sphere has been deleted and the faces have been merged with the 
surrounding edges. If the edges had been deleted by choosing "Edges" from the {Erase Menu) there would be 
an empty band of deleted faces all the way around the sphere instead. 




Before Delete Edge Loop 



After Delete Edge Loop 



Knife Subdivide 

Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) 

Panel: Editing Context Mesh Tools 

Hotkey: K or Shift K 

Menu: Mesh Edges Knife Subdivide. 



Description 

Knife Subdivide subdivides selected edges intersected by a user-drawn 'knife' line. For example, if you wish 
to cut a hole in the front of a sphere, you select only the front edges, and then draw a line over the selected 



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302 



Knife Subdivide Options 

edges with the mouse. The tool is interactive, and only works with primary edges; selected either implicitly by 
selecting all or explicitly by box-selecting or shift-selecting a few edges. 

Tools don't work on Modifiers 

In general, you cannot use any tool on a mirrored side, as that side is just a mirror image of the primary side. 
Tools also do not work on subsurfed or multires "edges" shown; use the tool by working on 
vertices/edges/faces on the primary part of your mesh when using a modifier. 



Options 



Cut Type 

Exact Line 



Multicut 



Knife Tool/Cut Type 

When you press K, the popup menu appears where you select the type of cut you can make: 

• Exact Line divides the edges exactly where the knife line crosses them. 

• Midpoints divides an intersected edge at its midpoint. 

• Multicut makes multiple parallel cuts. An additional number input is presented, allowing you to select 
the number of cuts. 

Drawing the cut line 

When using Knife Subdivide, the cursor changes to an icon of a scalpel and the 3D View header 
shows {Knife Tool SDWindow header). You can draw connected straight lines by clicking LMB K and 
moving repeatedly or you can create freehand lines by pressing and holding LMB '- while dragging. 
Also, exact cuts on the vertices can be made by holding Ctrl while cutting. MMB '-' constrains the cut 
line to a vertical or horizontal screen axis. 

Confirming and selection 

Pressing Esc or RMB - at any time cancels the tool, and pressing Enter confirms the cut, with the 
following options: 

• Enter will leave selected every edge except the new edges created from the cut. 

• Ctrl Enter will select only the new edges created from the cut. Note: only edges that intersect the 
hand-drawn selected edges will be selected. 



LMB to draw. Enter to finish (witli CTRL to leave only tlie cut ilne selected), ESC to abort. 



Knife Tool SDWindow header 

Topology 

Knife subdivide uses the same options as the other subdivide tools, located in the Edit Buttons. If the 
Beauty option is toggled selected faces are only subdivided along the longest 2 sides. If both Beauty 
and Short options are toggled, selected faces are only subdivided along the shortest 2 sides. 

Note: Using edge select mode to select only the edges you wish to subdivide creates a more accurate 
subdivision than using the "Beauty" toggle. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 303 



Knife Subdivide 
Examples 



Examples 



Exact Line Cut Type 

(Exact Line before and after) is an example of using the 'Exact Line' knife. The cut is determined from the 
hand-drawn line labeled A in the plane labeled "Drawing". 

The plane labeled "Enter" is the result of hitting the Enter key. The intersections on the edges of the plane are 
where the drawn line actually intersects, no matter how wiggly the line is. In addition, all the edges have been 
selected other than the newly created edges from the cut tool itself. 

The plane labeled "Ctrl-Enter" is the result of hitting Ctrl Enter. In this case only the newly created edges, B 
and C, are selected while edge D is not. D is a secondary edge added as a side effect of the cut tool. 




Exact Line, before and after. 



Midpoints Cut Type 

{Midpoints before and after) is an example of using the 'Midpoints Line' knife. The cut is determined from the 
hand-drawn line labeled A on the plane labeled "Drawing". Notice how the line labeled A intersects the right 
edge twice; only the first intersection will be considered during the cut. 

The plane labeled "Enter" is the result of hitting Enter. The intersections on the edges of the plane are the mid 
points of each edge, regardless of where the line was drawn. All the edges have been selected other than the 
newly created edges from the cut tool itself. 

The plane labeled "Ctrl-Enter" is the result of hitting Ctrl Enter. In this case only the newly created edges, B 
and C, are selected while edge D is not. D is a secondary edge as a result of the cut tool. 



Drawing 


J 


Enter i 






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Midpoints before and after. 



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304 



Rotate Edge CW / Rotate Edge CCW 



Rotate Edge CW / Rotate Edge CCW 



MultiCutType 



< Number of Cuts: 2" OK 



Number of Cuts. 

This cut type presents a popup dialog appears asking for the Number of Cuts, which defines how many 
equally spaced cuts the tool should make for each intersecting edge. For example, the default of "2" generates 
two intersections or three new edges for each intersection of the hand-drawn line. 



(MultiCut before and after) is an example of using the 'MultiCut' knife. The cut is determined from the 
hand-drawn line (A) on the plane labeled "Drawing", while using the default "2" as the number of cuts. The 
line was drawn so that it deliberately intersected three edges. 

The grid labeled "Enter" is the result of hitting Enter. There are two cuts equally spaced on each edge 
intersected by the hand-drawn line; labeled A, B and C. D is a secondary edge as a result of the cut tool. The 
grid labeled "Ctrl-Enter" is the result of hitting Ctrl Enter. In this case only the newly created edges are 
selected while edge D is not. 





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MultiCut before and after. 



Limitations & Worl<-arounds 



The cut lines can be drawn with any number of segments, but only one intersection is detected one crossing 
per edge. Crossing back over an edge multiple times does not perform additional cuts on it. 

Snap to grid is not currently implemented, but is being looked at for future releases. 



Optimizations 

With a large mesh, it will be quicker to select a smaller number of vertices, those defining only the edges you 
plan to spUt since the Knife will save time in testing selected vertices for knife trail crossings. 



Rotate Edge CW / Rotate Edge CCW 

Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) 

Hotkey: Ctrl E, 3 and Ctrl E, 4 

Menu: Mesh Edges Rotate Edge CW / Rotate Edge CCW 



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305 



Edge Slide 



Edge Slide 



Description 

Rotating an edge clockwise or counter-clockwise spins an edge between two faces around their vertices. This 
is very useful for restructuring a mesh's topology. The tool can operate on one explicitly selected edge, or on 
two selected vertices or two selected faces that implicitly select an edge between them. 



Examples 




Selected Edge Rotated CW and CCW. 

Be aware that sometimes, as shown in (Selected Edge Rotated CW and CCW, indicated with a T, that you 
could produce what appears to be "T" junctions/nodes by using this tool. However, Blender has created 
additional edges that prevent cracks in the mesh. You can test this by selecting the vertex at the T and moving 
it around while noting that there are two edges now instead of one long edge. 




Adjacent selected Faces 

To rotate an edge based on faces you must to select two faces, {Adjacent selected Faces), otherwise Blender 
notifies you with an error dialog, "ERROR: Select one edge or two adjacent faces." Using either Rotate Edge 
CW or Rotate Edge CCW will produce exactly the same results as if you had selected the common edge 
shown in {Selected Edge Rotated CW and CCW.). 



Edge Slide 



Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) > Vertex Select Mode or Edge Select Mode 

Hotkey: Ctrl E, 6 

Menu: Mesh Edges Slide Edge 

Description 

Edge Slide slides one or more edges along faces adjacent to the selected edge(s) with a few restrictions 
involving the selection of edges. 



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306 



Edge Slide 



Options 



Options 

• LMB - confirms the tool, and RMB '^ or Esc cancels 



• As with Loop Subdivide , this tool has both a Percentage and Proportional mode, which is displayed 
in the 3D View header. These modes behave the same as in Loop Subdivide including all keys for 
controlling precision edge movement. 




Simple edge slide 

(Simple edge slide) is an example of sliding an edge along an extruded box. The selected edge is labeled E 
and the adjacent faces to that edge are Fl and F2. In Edge moving, the edge is being slid along the edge 
drawn in green. Moved shows the results. 



Limitations & Worl<-arounds 

There are restrictions on the type of edge selections that can be operated upon. Invalid selections are: 

Loop crosses itself 

This means that the tool could not find any suitable faces that were adjacent to the selected edge(s). 
(Loop Crosses) is an example that shows this by selecting two edges that share the same face. A face 
can not be adjacent to itself. 

Was not a single edge loop 

Most likely you have selected edges that don't share the same edge loop. (Single Edges) is an example 
where the selected edges are not in the same edge loop which means they don't have a common edge. 
You can minimize this error by always selecting edges end to end or in a "Chain". 

Could not order loop 

This means the tool could not find an edge loop based on the selected edge(s). (Order loop) is an 
example where a single edge was selected in a 2D Plane object. An edge loop can not be found 
because there is only one face. Remember, edge loops are loops that span two or more faces. 




Loop Crosses. Single Edges. Order loop. 

A general rule of thumb is that if multiple edges are selected they should be connected end to end such that 
they form a continuous chain. This is literally a general rule because you can still select edges in a chain that 
are invalid because some of the edges in the chain are in different edge loops. (Loop Crosses) is just such an 
example where the selected edges form a chain but they are not in the same edge loop. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



307 



Bevel Bevel 

If you select multiple edges just make sure they are connected. This will decrease the possibility of getting 
looping errors. 

Bevel 

Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) 

Hotkey: W, Alt 2 

Menu: Mesh Edges Bevel 

Description 




With bevel and without bevel 

A bevel is something that smooths out a sharp edge or corner. Tme world edges are very seldom exactly 
sharp. Not even a knife blade edge can be considered perfectly sharp. Most edges are intentionally bevelled 
for mechanical and practical reasons. 

Bevels are also useful for giving realism to non-organic models. In the real world, the blunt edges on objects 
catch the light and change the shading around the edges. This gives a solid, realistic look, as opposed to 
un-bevelled objects looking false. 



Options 

Recursion 



Recursion:! * OK 



The number of recursions in the bevel can be defined in an additional popup number field. The greater 
the number of recursions, the smoother the bevel. 

If it is one, then each face is reduced in size and each edge becomes a single new face. Tri and Quad 
faces are created as necessary at the corresponding vertices. If the Recursion number is greater than 
one, then the bevel procedure is applied that number of times. Hence, for a Recursion of 2 each edge 
is transformed into 4 edges, three new faces appear at the edge while smoothing the original edge. In 
general the number of new edges is 2 elevated to the Recursion power. 



Width 



You can change the bevel width by moving the mouse towards and away from the object. The scaling 
can be controlled to a finer degree by either holding Ctrl, to scale in 0.1 steps, or by holding Shift to 
scale in 0.001 steps. LMB tl finalizes the operation, RMB '- or Esc aborts the action. 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 308 



Bevel 



Hints 



< Width: 0.0Z8 



OK 



Alternatively, you can manually enter a scaling value by pressing Space. A popup dialog appears, , 
asking you to type in the beveling scale factor labeled as "Width". The scale is limited to a range from 
0.0 to 10.0 and upon hitting "OK" the bevel action is completed. 



Bevel Size: 0.1834 LMB to confirm, RMB to cancel, SPACE to Input directly. 



Bevel window header. 



Hints 

Remember that in each recursion, for each new edge two new vertices are created, with additional vertices 
created at the intersection between edges. This means your vertex count can quickly become enormous if you 
bevel with a high recursion! 

A Bevel, applied to a Curve object, forms a skin for the curve, like the outside of a cord, or hose pipe. 
Normally the Bevel is round like a pipe or soda can, but it can be rectangular for simulating wrought iron, 
oval with a crease for a power cord, star-shaped for a shooting star illustration; anything that can be 
physically formed by extrusion (extruded). 

A Taper, applied to a Beveled Curve, changes the diameter of the Bevel along the length of the curve, like a 
python just having eaten a rat, or like a hose bulging up under pressure, or a vine growing. 



Bevel Selected Edges 

With the W->Bevel command, all edges of a given mesh are bevelled. To bevel only selected edges, use the 
Bevel Center script instead. 



Examples 

(Bevelling a cube) is an example of bevelling a cube with a Recursion of 2. Once the Recursion number is set 
each face of the mesh receives a yellow highlight. The cube labeled Bevelling is the tool in action. 



The final result can be seen in the grid labeled "Beveled" or "Shaded". 
fmmnm 




Bevelling a cube 



Previous: Manual/Advanced Mesh Tools 



Contents 



Next: ManualA^ertex Groups 



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309 



Bevel Snap to Mesh 

Snap to Mesh 

Mode: Edit mode/Object mode 

Hotkey: Shift Tab 

Menu: Mesh/Object af Transform af Snap 

Description 

Used in conjunction with Grab, Extrusion, Scale or Rotation modes. Once the tool is activated you are ready 
to drag the surface to its destination. 

Move your mouse pointer to where you want to snap and hold down Ctrl, move your pointer to adjust. 

When satisfied with the result, confirm with LMB B 

Options 

Snap Mode 



1 




Snap Mode 

Active 
Median 
Center 
Closest 


roBi 


1 ■ 




l''Wl 


L- 





• Closest: move the closest point of the selection to the target 

• Center: move the current transformation center to the target. Can be used with 3D cursor to 
snap with an offset. 

• Median: move the median of the selection to the target. 

• Active: move the active element (vertex in edit mode, object in object mode) to the target. 



Snap Element 



Snap Element: 

■ Face 
/ Edge 



• Vertex 

• Edge 

• Face 



The following shows different Element and Mode options. [ Download Demo Video] (theora") 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 310 



Bevel Options 

Align Rotation 

flTT ^;^:| Closest'^ 



Align Object's Z axis with the normal of the target element. 

Normals are interpolated between the two vertex normals when snapping to edges, otherwise, face normals 
and vertex normals are directly used. 

Only works with Translations (Grab) done in object mode. 

The following video shows a tree being snapped and aligned on a ground mesh. [ Download Demo 
Video] (theora) 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 311 



Why use Vertex Groups? Why use Vertex Groups? 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.42 

A mesh is a set of connected Vertices, sometimes thousands of vertices for the more complex objects. Blender 
allows you to group these vertices for several main reasons: 

• Re-using parts of a mesh for making copies 

• Hiding "everything else" while you work on details 

• Documentation and explanation to others 

• Armatures deformation 

• Generating particles from only the group 

• Controlling the velocity of particles emitted 

Armatures 

Vertex Groups can be automatically created for each bone in an armature. However, that process is pretty 
involved and for more information on Armatures and Bone Vertex Groups, click here . The rest of this section 
will focus on user-defined vertex groups. 



Why use Vertex Groups? 



You want to re-use part of your object if that object has or maybe will have many of those parts. For example, 
a cabinet has many hinges and may have many knobs and doors; a chair or table has four legs; a fence has 
many posts. While you could model each of these parts independently as separate objects and parent them all 
together, sometimes you may wish to simply think of them as parts of an integral whole. While similar to each 
other, you may wish to alter each one slightly. For example, put a nick in one of the chair legs, or make some 
knobs larger or more ornate that others. 

Use Vertex Groups to identify sub-parts of your model so that you can easily select and work on only that 
part. Especially using the hide function, vertex groups make it very easy to select a part of your model and 
hide everything else so that you can concentrate on only that part. 

Vertex groups also make it easy to cull out and duplicate a part of the mesh many times. Consider modeling a 
Legoa„0 block. The most simplest block consists of a base and a nipple. To create a four-nipple block, you 
would want to be able to easily select the nipple vertices, and, still in edit mode, duplicate them and position 
them where you want them. 

Another use for vertex groups is for skinning an armature. If you want to animate your mesh and make it 
move, you will define an armature which consists of a bunch of invisible bones. As a bone moves, it deforms 
or moves the vertices associated with it. Not all of the vertices, but some of them; the ones assigned to it. So, 
when you move the bone "Arm", the arm bone moves the Arm vertices, and not the Leg vertices. In this way, 
parts of the mesh can stretch and move around, while other parts remain stationary. 

By entering the name of the group in the VGroup: field in the Particle and/or Particle Motion panels, the 
weight painting of the group will define how much particles come out. Recall that hair is a static particle; so 
define a Vertex Group called "Scalp" and use it to tell Blender to emit hair from the Scalp. 

Another great use for vertex groups is for keeping track of vertex selections. For instance, I was modeling a 
coin-like object with a raised, beveled border. For some reason, I couldn't do a loop select around the base of 
the border, so I had to carefully select the vertices. I knew I'd need to use that same selection several times in 
the next few minutes while working on the model, so I named and saved the group, saving me a lot of work 
later. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 312 



Why use Vertex Groups? 



Creating a Vertex Group 



Creating a Vertex Group 



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Vertex Group default panel 

By default, an object does not have any groups, and all of its vertices are hanging out there in cyberspace as 
loners. The image to the right highlights the Vertex Groups buttons in hot pink. These buttons are located in a 
Buttons window in the Editing F9 buttons group on the Link and Materials panel. They are shown when an 
object with vertices is selected AND being edited (Tab). You can tell when an object is in Edit mode because 
your 3D window cursor is a cross-hair. 

Only Groups are for Vertices 

Vertex Groups are only available for objects that have vertices. Text objects, for example, cannot have vertex 
groups and the panel is not shown when that kind of object is selected. Vertex Groups are only shown when 
an object with vertices is being edited. 

To create a vertex group, LMB ^- click the New button. When you do, a new vertex group (named, 
surprisingly, "Group") is created, and the panel shows you a Weight numeric slider/entry/scroll box. Any 
selected vertices are not yet assigned to the new vertex group, you must click the Assign button to actually 
allocate vertices to the newly created vertex group. 

Check Your Assignment 

It's a good idea to make sure the vertices have been properly assigned to the group by using the deselect and 
select buttons. If nothing happens, just hit the Assign button to add the selected vertices to the group. 



Naming Vertex Groups 

To name a group something other than the creative "Group", Shift LMB ^- click the name field, and type in 
the name you want. 




. Weight: l.OM ► 
I Nuw Diiiete 



Select Desel. 



IMatl > 



Select Deselect 



Assign 



^ESB^E^^M (^t Smaat I Set So lld~1 



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313 



Why use Vertex Groups? Assigning Vertices to a Group 

Cabinet Vertex Group example 

For example, consider the model of a kitchen cabinet. The cabinet consists of three vertical walls (two sides 
and a back), a floor and countertop, a door frame, a door, a knob and two hinges. You may or may not, at 
some point, to be able to model the door opening. You may want to make the cabinet a single door or later 
easily modify it to be a double door (with two knobs). You may wish to copy the knob design and use it for 
the drawers which you will be modeling later. In this case, you would want to define at least three vertex 
groups: Base, Door, and Knob. If you were writing a user manual, you would want your example to contain 
each possible group for maximum re-use and selection, as shown. 

Access the group list by clicking the list selector button next to the group name. Select a group by clicking on 
any named group. 



Assigning Vertices to a Group 

To add vertices to a group you do the following: 

1. Select the group you want to work with from the group list. 

2. Use your mouse to Shift RMB 'J select more vertices that you want in that group. 

3. LMB ^J chck the Assign button 

Keep in mind that a vertex can be assigned to multiple groups. 

Note 

When using the Assign button to assign selected vertices to a vertex group, any vertices that were already in 
the vertex group are not removed, so Assign adds extra vertices to the selected vertex group. 



Seeing a Vertex Group 



From experience, we have found that is is best to start first by seeing the existing vertices in a group, before 
adding more or removing some. To do this, de-select all vertices by pressing A once or twice in the 3d 
window until the User Preferences header shows Ve:0-x, where x is the number of vertices in your mesh. 
This means that zero (0) vertices are selected. The Vertex count is located just to the right of the Blender 
Version. 

Then, with the appropriate group active, press the Select button. In your 3D window, the vertices that belong 
to the active group will be highlighted. 



Removing Vertices from a Group 

To remove vertices from a group: 

1. Select the vertices you want to remove from the vertex group. 

2. Select the group you want to work with from the group list. 

3. LMB -■ chck the Remove button. 



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Using Vertex Groups in Practice Using Vertex Groups in Practice 

Deselecting Vertices 

Sometimes you will want to see if any vertices are still loners. To do so, select All the vertices in the 3D 
window. For each Vertex Group, LMB '- click the Desel. button to de-select the vertices in that group. 
Repeat the de-selection for each group. When you run out of groups, any vertices left highlighted are the 
loners. Sort of like picking baseball teams. 



Deleting a Group 

To delete a vertex group, select it from the list and click Delete. Yes, it's as simple as that. Any vertices that 
belonged to that group are unassigned from that group. However, please keep in mind that vertices can belong 
to many Groups. When they are unassigned from one group, they still belong to their other groups. 



Using Vertex Groups in Practice 

Assume you have defined the groups used in our cabinet example. Here are some examples of common things 
you might want to do involving Vertex Groups. 



Duplicating Parts 

You now want to make that cabinet a double door model: 

1. Select the cabinet object ( RMB '-') and enter Editmode (Tab). 

2. Ensure that NO vertices are selected (Ve:0 - remember?). 

3. Select the "Knob" vertex group from the dropdown menu. 

4. Click the Select button. 

5. Move your mouse into the 3D window. 

6. Duplicate that sub-mesh by pressing Shift D. The vertices are copied, selected, and grabbed. 

7. Move the mouse over to position the new knob. 

8. LMB ^-'- to drop the sub-mesh. 

The duplicated vertices belong to the same group(s) as their originals. 

To assign this new knob to its own group, click New, name it something like "Knob.L" and click on Assign. 
See #Creating a Vertex Group and #Assigning Vertices to a Group . 

Left and Right naming convention 

Certain features of Blender can perform related actions on groups that are left and right counterparts of each 
other. If you end a name in ".L" or ".left" and its counterpart ".R" or ".right". Blender may be able to easily 
mirror its actions for you. You can read more about the naming convention in Manual/Editing Armatures: 
Naming conventions . The convention for armatures/bone apply here as well. 



Simplifying a Vertex Group 

You may have correctly surmised that the original Knob group now has both sets of vertices: the original and 
the duplicated ones. You've created a "Knob.L" group, but there is no corresponding 'right' group. The Knob 
group really needs to be renamed and contain only the vertices for the right knob. To correct this, 

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Using Vertex Groups in Practice Combining Groups 

1. Ensure the new "Knob.L" vertices still selected (the ones that don't belong) 

2. Select the original Knob Vertex Group from the list 

3. Click the Remove button 

To test your work, deselect all vertices and click the Select button. Only the vertices from the original knob 
should highlight. Rename this group "Knob.R" 

Repeat the above for the "door" and "hinge" group, and you now have a two-door cabinet model. Note that 
you will have to either make the doors narrower or cabinet wider to accommodate the new door. 

Combining Groups 

To create a Knobs (plural group), you could: 

1 . Ensure that no vertices are selected. 

2. Select the "Knob.L" group (select its name from the Ust and click Select) 

3. Select the "Knob.R" group (ditto). 

4. Observe that selecting one set of vertices does not deselect the others; the selection process adds on 
vertices to the selection. 

5. Click the New button, and name the group "Knobs" 



Focus on a part of your model 

You want to make an inset panel on the door. To work on the door sub-mesh without cluttering up your 
screen with all the other vertices, you would: 

1. Ensure that ALL vertices are selected. (You can use A for that.) 

2. Deselect the "door" group by selecting its name from the Vertex Group list and clicking Desel. (for 
Deselect), leaving everything BUT the door selected. 

3. With your cursor in the 3d Window, Hide the selected vertices. Poof! They disappear. 



Separating a part into its own 



Now, the patent lawyer calls and says that you must patent your hinge design to keep anyone else from 
copying it; you need to separate the hinge out from the cabinet mesh: 

1. Ensure that NO vertices are selected. 

2. Select the Hinge vertices (select the name from the Vertex Group list, and click Select) 

3. With your cursor in the 3d Window, seParate them into their own object. 

4. The remaining cabinet vertices are left. Tab out of editmode and RMB 'J click the floating hinge 
object. Note that it is conveniently called "Cabinet.OOl", and has all the same Vertex Groups as the 
original. Delete those groups you do not need, rename the object "Hinge". 

Parent it to the original (and now hinge-less) "Cabinet" object (include the parent by Shift RMB 3 cUcking 
the Cabinet, and pressing Ctrl P). Now, when you move your cabinet, the hinges move with it. 



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About Weight About Weight 

Finding Groups for a Vertex 

As you are rigging and animating the deformation of a mesh, you might need to find out which groups a 
vertex belongs to, and to adjust the weights of influence each group has on that particular vertex. 

1. Select the vertex 

2. In Edit mode, press N to open the transform properties window for that vertex. 

3. Open the drop-down menu that shows all vertex groups to which it belongs. 

4. From this window you also can assign weights to the vertex for each group. 



About Weight 

By default, every vertex in a group has a weight of 1 .00. If a vertex belongs to multiple groups, it has a 
combined weight. When influenced by a bone or other object, it is moved by an amount proportional to its 
weight; heavier vertices move less. So, a middle vertex belonging to two groups (each with a weight of 1.00) 
would move half as much as a left vertex that only belonged to one group. This weighting system provides 
realistic deformation of a mesh when bones move, for example, around the shoulder area, where some of the 
vertices belong to both the chest and the arm groups. 

You can set the weight of all vertices in a group using the Weight numeric control. For more advanced 
weighting, please read Weight Painting . Weight Painting allows you to smoothly blend individual vertex 
weights so that meshes deform smoothly. 



Previous: Manual/Edge and Face Tools Contents Next: ManualAVeight Paint 



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About Weight 



About Weight 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version pre2.43 



The Weight Paint Mode is used to create and modify Vertex Groups. A vertex may not only be a member of 
one or more Vertex Groups, but also may have a certain weight in each group. The weight symbolises its 
influence on the result. 



Mode: 



7 Weiqht Paint 



^ Texture Paint 
^ Vertex Paint 
Pi UV Face Select 

Sculpt Mode 
.A Edit Mode 
tj. Qljject Mode 



ObjeW'MSa* 



Image 1: Changing to Weight Paint Mode. 

Mode: Object Mode 

Hotkey: Ctrl Tab 

Menu: Mode Menu (Image 1) 

When you change to Weight Paint Mode you see the selected object (if you have not created any groups yet), 
in a slightly shaded, blue color (Image 2). 




^aint [^Weight Paint ~\ \^ 

Image 2: An object in Weight Paint-Mode. 

The color visualises the weight of each vertex of the currently active group. A vertex drawn in blue indicates 
either : a weight of zero, not in the active group, or not in any group at all. 

You assign the weight of each vertex by painting on the mesh with a certain color. Starting to paint on a Mesh 
will automatically create a new Vertex Weight Group (when no group existed or is active). If a vertex doesn't 
belong to the active group it is automatically added (if the option Vgroup is not set), even if you paint with a 
weight of "0". The used color spectrum is shown in Image 3. 




0.1 0.2 0.3 



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318 



About Weight 



Paint-Panel 



Image 3: The color spectrum and their respective weights. 

You paint on the mesh with a bmsh. The color only influences the vertices, neither the faces nor the edges. So 
don't try and paint these. There is a tool panel for the brush in the Editing-Buttons (F9) as well as in the 3D 
Window (press N to open it). 



9 



Weight-Painting survival tips: 

A few tips that will save you some hassle when painting weight: 

• Press F in Weight Paint Mode to activate the Face Select mode. Now you can select 
faces to paint and Hide faces like in Edit Mode. 

• Press B to Border-select faces to paint using LMB S?. Use the RMB 3 border select to 
exclude the selected faces from painting. 

• Draw a Clipping Border with Alt B. It will separate a visible part of the 3D-window. 
You can draw only in this part. If you press Alt B again the Clipping Border will be 
removed. 

• Turn off Soft in the Paint-Panel. If you have Soft activated you will reach the target 
value only after several repeated paint actions, and it's especially difficult to reach 
"0.000". 



Paint-Panel 




Weight: 


1.000 




1 Mix 1 





1/4 


1/2 


3/4 


1 




Add 


Opacity 0.200 


^1 


Sub 


1/6 


1/4 


1/2 


3/4 


1 


Mul 


Filter 


Size 25.00 


wm 


Ml 




Lighter 
















1 Spray 1 


Darker 


All Faces V 


ertex Dist Soft ^^^^^| 



Vgroup 



X-Mirror 



Wire 



Clear 



Image 4: The Paint-Panel in the Editing-Buttons. 

The tools in the Paint panel are sophisticated, and you can apply weight in the finest nuances. But normally 
you won't need all these options, and you will apply weight using a few techniques. The most used and 
important settings are drawn in bold. 

• Weight: The weight (color) that is used to paint. The button row below contains five weight presets to 
paint. By default, painting works with a fixed amount relative to the previous state (like Gimp or 
Photoshop defaults), so you can add for example "0.2 weight" to vertices while keeping the mouse 
button pressed. 

• Opacity: The extent to which the vertex colour changes while you are painting. 

• Size: The size of the brush, which is drawn as a circle during painting. 

• Spray: The Spray option accumulates weights on every mouse move. 

• Mix/Add/...: The manner in which the new color replaces the old when painting. 

♦ Mix: The new color replaces the old color. Applying more and more of the new color will 
eventually turn it the new color. 

♦ Add: The new color is added to the old. For example, painting green over a red area will 
make it yellow, since green and red make yellow in the RGB world. 



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319 



About Weight Tools 

♦ Sub: The new color is subtracted from existing. For example, painting with green over a 
yellow area will make it red. 

♦ Mul: The new color is multiplied by the old. 

♦ Filter: Paint based on alpha value. 

♦ Lighter: Decreases the saturation (amount) of that color 

♦ Darker: Increases the saturation of the color 

• All faces: If this is turned off, you will only paint vertices which belong to a face on which the cursor 
is. This is useful if you have a complicated mesh and you would paint on visually near faces that are 
actually quite distant in the mesh. 

• Vertex Dist: Paints only on vertices which are actually under the brush. If you switch this off, all 
vertices belonging to faces touched by the brush are painted. If you have a sparse mesh and use 
subsurfaces you want to keep this on. 

• Soft: This specifies that the extent to which the vertices lie within the brush also determine the brush's 
effect. It's extremely difficult to paint with zero then. You want to turn this off in all normal 
situations. 

• Normals: The vertex normal (helps) determine the extent of painting. This causes an effect as if 
painting with light. 

• Vgroup: Only vertices which belong to the active vertex group are painted. Very useful for clearing 
up and refining vertex groups without messing other groups up. 

• X-mirror: Use the X-Mirror option for mirrored painting on groups that have symmetrical names, 
like with extension .R .L or _R or _L. If a group has no mirrored counterpart, it will paint symmetrical 
on the active group itself. You can read more about the naming convention in Manual/Editing 
Armatures: Naming conventions . The convention for armatures/bone apply here as well. 

• Wire: Show additionally the wireframe of the objects. Since it shows the subsurfaced wire it's quite 
useless. It's better to use the Select-Mode (see below). 

• Clear: Removes all vertices from the active group. 



Tools 

If you have a complex mesh it is nearly impossible to reach all vertices in Weight Paint mode. And it is quite 
difficult to tell where the vertices are exactly. But there's a very good and easy solution: the Select Mode. 

Mode: Weight Paint Mode 

Hotkey: F 




Linked Faces 
Same UV 




Ctrl L 


Inverse 


Select/Deselect All 


A 


Border Select 


B 



Paint 



.^Weight Paint t \0 • Ifl 



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About Weight 



Tools 



Image 5: Select-Menu in Weight Paint-Mode. 

Select Mode has many advantages over the normal Weight Paint mode. 

1. The original mesh is drawn, even when subsurface is active. You can see the vertices you have to 
paint over. You need to activate Vertex Colors for the mesh (Editing Buttons->Mesh 
Panel->VertCol->Make) to see the Weights in Select mode. 

2. You can select faces, only the vertices of selected faces are painted on. 

3. Selecting tools include: 

♦ RMB C? - Single faces. Use Shift RMB '^ to select multiple. 

♦ A - All faces, also to deselect. 

♦ Alt B - Block/Box selection. 

♦ B-B - Select with brush. 

♦ Ctrl L - Select hnked. 

♦ In the Select-Menu: Faces with Same UV, also invert selection (Inverse). 

4. You may hide selected faces with H and show them again with Alt H (Image 6). 




Suzmne 



Image 6a: Select interfering faces ... Image 6b: ... and hide them with H. 




Image 7: A vertex belonging to two vertex groups. 

To constraint the paint area further you may use the Clipping Border. 

• Press Alt B and LMB B-Drag a rectangular Area. The rest of the 3D window is hidden. 

• If you want to know which groups a Vertex belongs use Shift LMB — . You can change between the 
groups in the appearing Pop-Up Menu (Image 7). 

• N in the 3D-window opens a Paint-panel instead of the transform properties panel (Image 8). 



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321 



About Weight 



Scripts in Paint-IVIenu 



X » Weight Paint Properties 





MMM 


1 1/4 1 1/2 1 3/4 1 1 


1 


Add 




Sub 


1/8 1 1/4 1 1/2 1 3/4 1 1 


IVIul 


Size 25.00 ^—1 


RIter 


1 inhtpr 


1 Sprav 
BMSW^TOHBSBS soft 


Darl^er 
Jormals 



I Vgroup I X- Mirror | Wire | Clear" 




Image 8: Weight Paint Properties Panel in the 3D-Window. 



Scripts in Pa/77f-l\/lenu 

Weight Gradient: 

This script is used to fill the selected faces with a gradient (Image 3 & 9). To use the script, select the 
faces you wish to apply the gradient to. Click twice on the mesh to set the start and end points of the 
gradient. The color under the mouse will be used for the start and end blend colors, so you have to 
weight paint first. Holding Shift or clicking outside the mesh on the second click will blend the first 
colour to nothing. 




Image 9: Setting the gradient and result. 

Normalise/Scale Weight: 

Maximizes weights to a user set peak and optionally scales other groups too to keep the proportion of 

the weights even. 
Grow/Shrink Weight: 

Uses the mesh topology to expand/contract the vert weights (works like colorbleeding). 
Clean Weight: 

Removes vertices with low weights from the current group. 



Weight-Painting for Bones 

This is probably the most often used application of weight painting. When a bone moves, vertices around the 
joint should move as well, but just a little, to mimic the stretching of the skin around the joint. Use a 'light' 
weight (10-40%) paint on the vertices around the joint so that they move a little when the bone rotates. While 
there are ways to automatically assign weights to an armature (see the Armature section), you can do this 



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322 



About Weight Weight-Painting for Particles 

manually. To do this from scratch, refer to the process below. To modify automatically assigned weights, 
jump into the middle of the process where noted: 

• Create an Armature 

• Create a Mesh that will be deformed when the armature's bone(s) move 

• With the Mesh selected, create an Armature modifier for your mesh (located in the editing buttons, 
modifier panel). Enter the name of the Armature 

(Pick up here for modifying automatically assigned weights) 

• Select the Armature in 3D View, and bring the armature to Pose mode (in the 3D View window 
header mode selector). 

• Select a desired bone in the Armature 

• Select your mesh (using RMB ^ and change immediately to Weight Paint mode. The mesh will be 
colored according to the weight (degree) that the selected bone movement affects the mesh. Initially, 
it will be all blue (no effect). 

• Weight paint to your heart's content. The mesh around the bone itself should be red (generally) and 
fade out through the rainbow to blue for vertices farther away from the bone. 

You may select a different bone with RMB — . If the mesh skins the bones, you will not be able to see the 
bones because the mesh is painted. If so, turn on X-Ray view (Buttons window. Editing buttons. Armature 
panel). While there on that panel, you can also change how the bones are displayed (Octahedron, Stick, 
B-Bone, or Envelope) and enable Draw Names to ensure the name of the selected bone matches up to the 
vertex group. 

If you paint on the mesh, a vertex group is created for the bone. If you paint on vertices outside the group, the 
painted vertices are automatically added to the vertex group. 

If you have a symmetrical mesh and a symmetrical armature you can use the option X-Mirror. Then the 
mirrored groups with the mirrored weights are automatically created. 



Weight-Painting for Particles 




Faces or vertices with zero weight generate no particles. A weight of 0.1 will result in 10% of the amounts of 
particles. This option "conserves" the total indicated number of particles, adjusting the distributions so that the 
proper weights are achieved while using the actual number of particles called for. Use this to make portions of 
your mesh hairier (is that really a word?) than others by weight-painting a vertex group, and then calling out 
the name of the vertex group in the Object Particles panel, in the VGroup: field. 



Previous: Manual/Vertex Groups Contents Next: Manual/Subsurf Modifier 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 323 



Subdivision Surfaces 



Subdivision Surfaces 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.45 

Subdivision Surfaces 

Mode: Any Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 (Panel) Shift O (Toggle SubSurf in Object Mode) 



Description 

A Subdivision Surface is a method of subdividing the faces of a mesh to give a smooth appearance, to enable 
modelling of complex smooth surfaces with simple, low-vertex meshes. This allows high resolution Mesh 
modelling without the need to save and maintain huge amounts of data and gives a smooth organic look to the 
object. With any regular Mesh as a starting point. Blender can calculate a smooth subdivision on the fly, while 
modelling or while rendering, using Catmull-Clark Subdivision Surfaces or, in short SubSurf. 



Options 



^^BnffiTfiS^ ^^^^^^^1 


^|Add Modifier | To: Cube 


1 


. 


Subsurf |y|+|0 


o 


Q© X 




t 


Catmull-Clark ' 




AppV/ 


j 


■1 Levels: 2 *■ 


Cm 


* Render Levels: 2 f 






1 


Optimal Draw 


J 



Modifiers panel. 

SubSurf is a Modifier . To add it to a mesh, press Add Modifier and select Subsurf from the list. 

• Levels defines the display resolution, or level of subdivision. 

• Render Levels is the levels used during rendering. This allows you to keep a fast and lightweight 
approximation of your model when interacting with it in 3D, but use a higher quality version when 
rendering. 

• To view and edit the results of the subdivision ("isolines") on the Editing Cage while you're editing 
the mesh, click in the gray circle next to the arrows for moving the modifier up and down the stack. 
This lets you grab the points as they lie in their new subdivided locations, rather than on the original 
mesh. 

• Optimal Draw restricts the wireframe display to only show the original mesh cage edges, rather than 
the subdivided result to help visualisation. 



Hints 

You can use Shift O if you are in ObjectMode to switch Subsurf On or Off. To turn the subsurf view off (to 
reduce lag), press Alt+Shift+0. The Subsurf level can also be controlled via Ctrl 1 to Ctrl 4, but this only 
affects the visualization sub-division level. 



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324 



Subdivision Surfaces Examples 

A SubSurfed Mesh and a NURBS surface have many points in common such as they both rely on a "coarse" 
low-poly "mesh" to define a smooth "high definition" surface, however, there are notable differences: 

• NURBS allow for finer control on the surface, since you can set "weights" independently on each 
control point of the control mesh. On a SubSurfed mesh you cannot act on weights. 

• SubSurfs have a more flexible modelling approach. Since a SubSurf is a mathematical operation 
occurring on a mesh, you can use all the modelling techniques described in this chapter on the mesh. 
There are more techniques, which are far more flexible, than those available for NURBS control 
polygons. 

Since Subsurf computations are performed both real-time, while you model, and at render time, and they are 
CPU intensive, it is usually good practice to keep the SubSurf level low (but non-zero) while modelling; 
higher while rendering. 



Examples 

SubSurfed Suzanne shows a series of pictures showing various different combinations of Subsurf options on a 
Suzanne Mesh. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 325 



Subdivision Surfaces 



Examples 




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326 



Subdivision Surfaces 



Examples 



SubSurfed Suzanne. 

SubSurf of simple square and triangular faces, shows a 0,1,2,3 level of SubSurf on a single square face or on 
a single triangular face. Such a subdivision is performed, on a generic mesh, for each square or triangular 
face. 

It is evident how each single quadrilateral face produces 4" faces in the SubSurfed mesh, n is the SubSurf 
level, or resolution, while each triangular face produces 34 "~ ' new faces {SubSurf of simple square and 
triangular faces.). This dramatic increase of face (and vertex) number results in a slow-down of all editing, 
and rendering, actions and calls for lower SubSurf level in the editing process than in the rendering one. 




SubSurf of simple square and triangular faces. 

The SubSurf tool allows you to create very good "organic" models, but remember that a regular Mesh with 
square faces, rather than triangular ones, gives the best results. A Gargoyle base mesh (left) and pertinent level 
2 SubSurfed Mesh (right), and Solid view (left) and final rendering (right) of the Gargoyle, show an example 
of what can be done with Blender SubSurfs. 



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327 



Subdivision Surfaces 



Examples 




A Gargoyle base mesh (left) and pertinent level 2 SubSurfed Mesh (right). 



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328 



Subdivision Surfaces 



Limitations & Worl<-arounds 




Solid view (left) and final rendering (right) of the Gargoyle. 



Limitations & Worl<-arounds 



Blender's subdivision system is based on the Catmull-Clark algorithm. This produces nice smooth SubSurf 
meshes but any 'SubSurfed' face, that is, any small face created by the algorithm from a single face of the 
original mesh, shares the normal orientation of that original face. 



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329 



Subdivision Surfaces 



Limitations & Worl<-arounds 



■ 














■ 


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Side view of subsurfed meshes. With random normals (top) and with coherent normals (bottom) 

This is not an issue for the shape itself, as Side view of subsurfed meshes. With random normals (top) and with 
coherent normals (bottom) shows, but it is an issue in the rendering phase and in solid mode, where abrupt 
normal changes can produce ugly black lines {Solid view of SubSurfed meshes with inconsistent normals (top) 
and consistent normals (bottom).). 




Solid view of SubSurfed meshes with inconsistent normals (top) and consistent normals (bottom). 

Use the Ctrl N command in EditMode, with all vertices selected, to recalculate the normals to point outside. 

In these images the face normals are drawn cyan. You can enable drawing normals in the EditButtons (F9) 
menu. 

Note that Blender cannot recalculate normals correcty if the mesh is not "Manifold". A "Non-Manifold" mesh 
is a mesh for which an 'out' cannot unequivocally be computed. From the Blender point of view, it is a mesh 
where there are edges belonging to more than two faces. 



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330 



Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces 




A "Non-Manifold" mesh 

A "Non-Manifold" mesh shows a very simple example of a "Non-Manifold" mesh. In general a 
"Non-Manifold" mesh occurs when you have internal faces and the like. 

A "Non-Manifold" mesh is not a problem for conventional meshes, but can give rise to ugly artifacts in 
SubSurfed meshes. Also, it does not allow decimation, so it is better to avoid them as much as possible. 

Use these two hints to tell whether a mesh is "Non Manifold": 

• The Recalculation of normals leaves black lines somewhere 

• The "Decimator" tool in the Mesh Panel refuses to work stating that the mesh is "Non Manifold" 



Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces 

Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) 

Panel: 3D View Transform Properties 

Hotkey: Shift E or N (Transform Properties Panel) 

Menu: Mesh Edges Crease Subsurf 

Description 

Weighted edge creases for subdivision surfaces allows you to change the way Subsurf subdivides the 
geometry to give the edges a smooth or sharp appearance. 



Options 

The crease weight of selected edges can be changed interactively by using Shift E and moving the mouse 
towards or away from the selection. Moving the mouse away from the edge increases the weight. You can 
also use Transform Properties (N) and enter the value directly. A higher value makes the edge "stronger" and 
more resistant to subsurf. Another way to remember it is that the weight refers to the edge's sharpness. Edges 
with a higher weight will be deformed less by subsurf. Recall that the subsurfed shape is a product of all 

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Examples 



intersecting edges, so to make the edges of an area sharper, you have to increase the weight of all the 
surrounding edges. 

You can enable an indication of your edge sharpness by enabling Draw Creases. See (Mesh Tools 1 panel). 




Centre 



Hide 



Reveal 



Select Swap 



NSize: 0.100 



Draw Normals 



Transform Properties 



_praw Faces_ 
Draw Edges 



Draw Creases 



Draw Seams 



All Edaes 




Mesh Tools 1 panel 



Examples 

The sharpness value on the edge is indicated as a variation of the brightness on the edge. If the edge has a 
sharpness value of 1.0, the edge will have a brighter color, and if sharpness value is 0.0, the edge will not be 
so bright. 




Edge sharpness 0.0 



Edge sharpness 1.0 



Previous: Manual/Softbodv Modifier 



Contents 



Next: Manual/UVProject Modifier 



If you arrived at this page from either pages "Weight Paint" or "Multi Resolution Mesh" and wish to carry on 
navigating in the order laid out in the Mesh section of the Main Index page use the Navigation bar below: 



Previous: ManualAVeight Paint 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Mul tires 



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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces IVIultiresolution IVIesh 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

Multiresolution Mesh 

Mode: Edit Mode, Object Mode 
Panel: Editing Context Multires 
Hotkey: F9 (Panel) 



Description 

Multires stands for 'multiple resolution mesh'. Multires allows you to edit the mesh at both high and low 
levels of complexity. Changes you make at one level of resolution propagate to all other levels. 

This feature is most often used for Sculpt Mode, where multires levels are added to a base mesh to sculpt with 
increasingly fine detail. While sculpting, viewing a high-complexity mesh is CPU-intensive. Multires allows 
the user to view the mesh at a lower level for positioning, lighting, and animating. Even when viewing a mesh 
at a low level, all the fine detail still remains in the multires data of the mesh and can be viewed at any time by 
setting the Level: value to a higher number. 




Multires Monster head sculpt by Tom Musgrove 



Options 



In the multires panel press add multires. Then press add level to increase the levels of multires. Level 1 is the 
same as a mesh without multires. If you press delete multires it will convert the mesh to whatever the current 
level is that is selected. You can add multiple levels until you reach your ram limit. 



H [ Add mijUires I 



Multires panel, no multires data added yet. 




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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces Limitations 

Multires panel. 

• Add multires - Initializes the mesh to accept multires levels. 

• Apply multires - Appears only after adding multires to a mesh. Removes all the multires data, leaving 
the mesh at the currently set resolution. 

• Add Level - Changes to the highest level and subdivides the mesh. This also modifies the vertices in 
all lower levels to match those in the highest level. 

• Del Lower - Applies the changes to the mesh at the current level and removes all lower mesh levels. 

• Del Higher - Deletes all multires levels above the current level. 

• Edges - Determines the maximum level of edges (the highlighted outline of a mesh) drawn. Edge 
display must be enabled in the Draw panel. Setting "Edges" to a high level will make the edges of the 
mesh closely follow the complexity of the mesh. This is especially useful for sculpting when you need 
to see the effect of your brush along the edge of a mesh. 

• Pin - If you have a modifier on the mesh, this determines what level the modifier is applied during 
rendering. Any multires level above the modifier is disabled. 

• Render - This determines what level of multires the model is rendered at. By default set to the highest 
available level. 



Limitations 



• Only the shape and not the topology of the mesh can be changed with multires enabled. Thus any tool 
that changes the topology (deleting or adding of faces) is deactivated. 

• Multires currently incompatible with shapekeys. 

• Some modifiers can result in a slow down of display and interaction if multires is also enabled 



Workflow 



^^^F I Add wuHiris | 



Multres panel, no multires data added yet. 



• Select a mesh. In the Multires panel of the Edit buttons, click the Add Multires button. This simply 
sets up the mesh for multiple resolutions. It does not add any levels. 



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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces 



See also 




Multires data added. Click Add Level to add the first level of resolution. 



• Click Add Level to add the first level of mul tire solution data. 




Multires panel after clicking the "Add Level" button once. Click "Add Level" at this point to add higher 
complexity levels. 



I Add Level | 



Subsurf Tvpe 

Simple Subdiv. 

JggUL! Catmull-Clark 




Simple subdivision or Catmull Clark? Decisions.. 

• With the first level of multires added, more options become available (see above). Level 1 is the same 
as the mesh without any extra resolution. To add levels with higher resolution than the original mesh, 
click Add Level again. You can choose between simple subdivision or Catmull Clark with the 
drop-down slider. Simple subdivisions are useful when you want your mesh to keep it's 

existing shape without being smoothed. 

• Adding more levels will increase the load on your CPU and make frame rate drop considerably. When 
you don't need to view the mesh in high detail, set the Level: value to Level 1 or 2. 



Enable Sculpt Mode and sculpt at the level that gives you a balance of performance and control. 



See also 



BlenderPev/Multires - Development details and some examples. 



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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces See also 



Previous: Manual/Subsurf Modifier Contents Next: Manual/Sculp tMode 



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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces 



Overview 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 



Overview 

Sculpt Mode is similar to Edit Mode in that it is used to alter the shape of a model, but Sculpt Mode uses a 
very different workflow: instead of dealing with individual elements (vertices, edges, and faces), an area of 
the model is altered using a brush. In other words, instead of selecting a group of vertices. Sculpt Mode 
automatically selects vertices based on where the brush is, and modifies them accordingly. 



Sculpt Mode 



^^H 


^^^^H 




Mode: 

^Weight Paint 
^ Texture Paint 
^ Vertex Paint 
^UV Face Select 


H 


^H 




H 


^H 




cz 


1 




A Edit Mode 
tt Object Mode 


^^^1 


^^^^^1 




' View Seiect Object 


tc " 



Sculpt Mode Dropdown 

Sculpt mode is selected from the mode menu. 

Once sculpt mode is activated a sculpt menu will appear in th 3d view header, and a tabs for sculpt and brush 
will appear in the multires panel. Also the cursor will change to a circle with a cross hair in the center. 




The cursor in Sculpt Mode. 



Hiding and Revealing Mesh 

To hide mesh Shift Ctrl LMB G drag will hide all but the selected rectangle. Or To Shift Ctrl RMB 3 drag 
will hide only the selected rectangle. To reveal mesh Alt H or Shift Ctrl LMB B chck and release will reveal 
all of the mesh. 



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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces 



Sculpt Panel 




Hide before and after 



Sculpt Panel 







1 




OB: Sphere Par: 
Rrijf!h 






G 


^H Smooth 1 Pinch | inflate 






rab 


Layer 


Fiatten 




Shape 






imimf^ Sub 


Airbrush 


n 




Size: 24 








Strength: 25 






r 


Symmetry LocfcAxis 






X 


Y 


2 I, X 


Y 


Z 


1 , 



The Sculpt Properties panel. 

This panel is opened with N or through the 3D view menu: Sculpt > Sculpt Properties. It is the exact 
equivalent of the Sculpt tab in the Edit buttons (F9). 



Brushes 



Sculpt Mode has seven brushes that each operate on the model in a unique way: 



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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces IVIodifiers 




Drawing in various sizes and strengths. 

Draw 

Draws a smooth curve on the model following the brush; vertices are displaced in the direction of the 

average normal of the vertices contained within the brush. D 
Smooth 

As the name suggests, eliminates irregularities in the area of the mesh within the brush's influence. S 



Pinch 



Inflate 



Grab 



Layer 



Pinch pulls vertices towards the center of the brush. If Sub is active instead of Add, vertices are 
pushed away from the center of the brush. P 

Similar to Draw, except that vertices in Inflate mode are displaced in the direction of their own 
normals. I 



Grab is used to drag a group of points around. Unlike the other brushes. Grab does not modify 
different points as the brush is dragged across the model. Instead, Grab selects a group of vertices on 
mousedown, and pulls them to follow the mouse. The effect is similar to moving a group of vertices 
in editmode with proportional-editing enabled, except that Grab can make use of other Sculpt Mode 
options (like textures and symmetry.) G 



This brush is similar to Draw, except that the height of the displacement layer is capped. This creates 
the appearance of a solid layer being drawn. This brush does not draw on top of itself; brush stroke 
intersects itself. Releasing the mouse button and starting a new stroke will reset the depth and paint on 
top of the previous stroke. L 



Flatten 



The Flatten will lower the height of the part of the mesh being worked on. Simply put, the direction of 
the flattening depends on the way the surface normals in the mesh are facing. 



Modifiers 
Brush Shape 

Par 

The parent object's name. 

Add and Sub 

Add causes the brush to pull an area of the model in the positive direction. Sub in the negative 
direction. (With the Pinch bmsh. Add pulls vertices inward and Sub pushes vertices outward.) 
Interactive toggling of brush direction is with holding down Shift. Or V can be used to toggle it until 
it is toggled again. 

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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces 



Brush Panel 



Airbrush 



When enabled, this option causes the brush to continue modifying the model after mouse down 
without moving the mouse. If disabled, the brush only modifies the model when the brush changes its 
location. A 



Size 



This option controls the radius of the brush, measured in pixels. F in the 3D view allows you to 
change the brush size interactively by dragging the mouse and then left clicking (The texture of the 
brush should be visible inside the circle). Typing a number then enter while in F sizing allows you to 
enter the size numerically. 

Strength 

Strength controls how much each application of the brush affects the model. For example, higher 
values cause the Draw brush to add depth to the model more quickly, and cause the Smooth brush to 
smooth the model more quickly. If the range of strengths doesn't seem to fit the model (for example, 
if even the lowest strength setting still makes too large of a change on the model) then you can scale 
the model (in Edit Mode, not Object Mode.) Larger sizes will make the bmsh's effect smaller, and 
vice versa. You can change the brush strength interactively by pressing Shift F in the 3D view and 
then moving the brush and then left clicking. You can enter the size numerically also while in Shift F 
sizing. 

Symmetry 

Mirror the brush across the selected axes. Note that if you want to alter the directions the axes point 
in, you must rotate the model in Edit Mode, not Object Mode. Can be toggled via X, Y, and, Z 
respectively. 



Brush Panel 



Brush 





Common Texture 


< Space ► 




- View •■ 










H 








P 




■ 





TE:Marble 



^ 



Clear 



Tile 



3D 



Angle 0.00 



The Brush panel. 

Sculpt Mode can take full advantage of the range of options offered by Blender's texture system. Brush 
textures are accessed using a similar interface to that used by the Material buttons or the World buttons: there 
are nine texture slots in the Sculpt Mode Brush Panel, plus a Default slot that acts simply as a flat texture. 

Any texture type can be loaded into one of the Sculpt Mode texture slots. Once a texture is associated with a 
slot, additional options will appear that affect how the texture controls the brush. 

Drag, Tile and 3D 

These three options control how the texture is mapped onto the brush. If Drag is enabled, the texture 
follows the mouse, so it appears that the texture is being dragged across the model. The Tile option 
tiles the texture across the screen, so moving the brush appears to move seperately from the texture. 
The Tile option is most useful with tilable images, rather than procedural textures. Lastly, the 3D 
allows the brush to take full advantage of procedural textures. This mode uses vertex coordinates 
rather than the brush location to determine what area of the texture to use. 

Fade 



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Sculpt IVIenu 



Space 



View 



Angle 



When Fade is enabled, this option smooths the edges of the brush texture, so that the brush will 
smoothly fade into the model at the edge of the brush's influence. 

Setting this to a non-zero value adds extra space between each application of the brush. The value is 
measured in pixels; setting Space to 100 will require the mouse to move 100 pixels between each 'dot' 
applied to the mesh. Note that this is the total distance the brush has traveled, not the current linear 
distance from the last time the bmsh was applied. 

Pulls the brush direction towards view. 

This is the rotation angle of the texture brush. It can be changed interactively via Ctrl F in the 3D 
view. While in the interactive rotation you can enter a value numerically as well. 



Sculpt Menu 



^ Draw 


D 


Smooth 


S 


Pinch 


P 


Inflate 


1 


Grab 


G 


Layer 


L 


^ Acid 


V 


Airbrush 


A 


Symmetry X 


X 


Symmetry Y 


Y 


Symmetry Z 


Z 


Pivot last 


Partial Redraw 




^ Display Brush 





input DevicE 



|n Scuipt Properties 



g* Sculpt Mode 




Averaging 
Tablet Size Adjust 
Tablet Strength Adjust 



The sculpt menu. 

The Sculpt menu offers several new controls in addition to the tools already discussed. 

Pivot last 

Sets the rotation center for rotating the scene to the last location the brush was used. 
Partial Redraw 

This uses a special graphics optimization that only redraws where the mouse has been - it can speed 
up drawing on some graphics cards but slow it down on others. Primarily is only useful needed for 
dense mesh (greater than 100,000 polys). 
Display Brush 

Controls whether the brush circle is drawn. 
Input Devices 

Here you can select the behaviour of the used input devices. 

Averaging - This option uses an average direction of movement for the number of pixels 
specificed and then interpolates the stroke along a linear path of that number of pixels. This 
can be useful for dense meshes but the speed hit can be such that it may be faster to leave it at 
1 (the default). 



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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces 



Keyboard Shortcuts 



Tablet Size Adjust - Sets to what extent tablet pressure affects brush size. 

Tablet Strength Adjust - Sets to what extent tablet pressure affects brush strength. 



Keyboard Shortcuts 



Action 

Hide mesh outside selection 

Hide mesh inside selection 

Show entire mesh 

Toggle airbrush 

Interactively set brush size 

Interactively set brush strength 

Interactively rotate brush texture 

Toggle brush direction 

Draw brush 

Smooth brush 

Pinch brush 

Inflate brush 

Flatten brush 

Grab brush 

Layer bmsh 

X Symmetry 

Y Symmetry 

Z Symmetry 

Toggle floating sculpt panel 

Step up one multires level 

Step down one multires level 



Shortcut 

Shift Ctrl LMB 8 

Shift Ctrl RMB ^ 

AltH 

A 

F 

Shift F 

CtrlF 

V 

D 

S 

P 

I 

T 

G 

L 

X 

Y 

Z 

N 

Page Up 

Page Down 



Previous: Manual/Multires 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Retopo 



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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces 



Overview 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 



Overview 

Retopo (remake topology) is a tool for remaking the topology of a mesh. It's the opposite of the sculpting 
tools: instead of reshaping the model but leaving the topology the same, it reforms the topology, but maintains 
the same shape as the original model. You will not change the geometry of the original mesh in any way, you 
will be creating a new mesh that is projected upon an existing mesh. There are three ways to use retopo - 
retopo paint where you paint lines on the mesh and painted intersections become vertex locations; or by 
creating new mesh via standard mesh editing methods; or by projecting an existing mesh onto the object. In 
practice one usually uses all three together. 



Usage 

Retopo is controlled from the Mesh palette in the Editing buttons (F9). 

The Retopo button appears when a mesh is selected and EDIT mode is active. 

When the Retopo toggle button is pressed, any change to a vertex will cause it to be snapped to the surface of 
another model. Note that this effect is view dependent: from the view you are working in, the vertices won't 
appear to have moved, because they are falling straight back along the axis until they hit the surface of the 
model. 



Retopo Paint Overview 




'WT 



TexMesh: 



Retopo 



Sticky 
UV Texture 
Vertex Color 



IVIake 
New 
New 



Centre Centre New 



Centre Cursor 



Double Sided 



No V.Norrral Flip 



Auto Smooth 



Dear: 30 



Textvlesh: 



Sticky 
UV Texture 
Paint I Retopo All | verlex Color 



Centre Centre New 



Centre Cursor 



Double Sided 



^ 



tvlake 
New 



New 



L^ 



I i No V. Normal Flip 

Mesh panel with Retopo disabled. Mesh panel with Retopo enabled. 

Once you click Retopo and then paint you will see the following options in the header. 



1^ i| "^ View Select Mesh | A Edit Mode 



The Retopo header. 



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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces Overview 




Drawing ellipses. 
Pen 



Line 
Ellipse 



A freehand line that exactly follows the location of the mouse from your start click ( LMB Sj) until 
you release the mouse button. 

A line segment from your start click ( LMB —) to where you release the mouse button. 



Draws a ellipse between a rectangular area with its center defined by your start click ( LMB Sj) and a 
corner defined by where you release the mouse. 
LineDiv and EllDiv 

LineDiv and EllDiv determine the number of segments in the line and ellipse line respectively. Thus a 
setting of 4 for EllDiv results in a diamond being draw instead of an ellipse. For LineDiv it 
determines the number of points used to project the line onto the object thus with two points only the 
endpoints are used, and the rest of the line does not follow the surface but instead passes through the 
object. Thus higher levels of LineDiv mean the projection will more accurately fit on the objects 
surface. 



To extend a previous stroke go to an endpoint of the stroke and a circle will appear - click and drag to 
continue the stroke. 

You can delete previous strokes by going to an endpoint (or for a circle along the edge) and when the circle 
appears click to turn the stroke red then Xkey or Delete to delete it. 

Sometimes the option to extend can be an annoyance if you are trying to paint a new stroke near the endpoint 
of an existing stroke. In which case you can toggle off the hotspot for end point extension with the Hkey. 



After painting your ellipses and lines press Enter to convert it to mesh. At each intersection of lines a vertice 
is formed. Two intersections on the same line forms an edge also. Three or four edges in a loop forms a face. 



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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces 



Retopo IVIesh Overview 





Drawing different sliapes 
Drawing different shapes (mouse strokes). (results') 



Limitations / Notes 

• When you press Enter the mesh faces are derived based on your current view; thus you can only paint 
one side at a time. 

• Lines cannot self intersect 

• Can only autotill quads and tris, if an area has more than four surrounding vertices then a face will not 
be created 

• New mesh from paint and previous mesh from paint must be stitched together manually. 

• Each stroke is sequential. 

• Paint strokes can only be viewed and edited in the 3D view you begin retopo paint in. 



Retopo Mesh Overview 




Circle before projection. Circle projected onto carved sphere. 
If you use Retopo without Paint you can use standard mesh editing tools to either create a new mesh. Or 
alternatively project an existing mesh onto the surface you wish to remake the topology of. 

To project an existing mesh select the vertices you wish to project in the view you plan to project from then 
press Retopo All. 

You may wish to hide the vertices you have already projected in order to avoid accidentally re-projecting 
them from a different view. 

Limitations 

• In order to avoid effecting mesh on the backside of the object you must hide the mesh (i.e. selection is 
not 'clipped' even if it is not visible). 

• To re-topologize part of your current mesh you must either duplicate the entire object in object mode 



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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces 



Tutorial 



or duplicate and separate part of the object in EditMode. 



Tutorial 



step One 




Step One 

Since retopo modifies topology, not shape, we must first create the shape we will be using. This shape can be 
almost any 3D object: a mesh, a NURBS surface, metaballs, or even bones. One useful workflow is to quickly 
block out a shape in sculptmode, then use retopo on that mesh. For this example, I've chosen a simple 
UVsphere. 



Step Two 




Step Two 

Add a new mesh. It doesn't matter what you choose; after you create it, press X to erase all vertices. 



Step Three 





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Ntw , 


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Wtw I 


etntitlCtilK NtKJ 
Carts* Cu^Kif 

WD VtltmH FIlB 




J 







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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces 



Step Four 



Step Three 

Turn on Retopo. The Retopo toggle is in the Mesh palette in the Editing buttons (F9). You should also check 
that you have Viewport Shading set to Solid and that Limit selection to visible is off (that's the cube icon next 
to the vertex/edge/face selection buttons.) 



Step Four 




Step Four 

Start adding points by clicking the left mouse LMB ^1 button while holding Ctrl down. This is a normal 
EditMode operation, except that if you now rotate your view, you can see that the vertices you just added are 
on the surface of the UVsphere. You can also use extrude, duplicate, grab, rotate, and scale; all of these 
operations will continue to snap vertices to the surface of the UVsphere. 



Tip 

To make using Retopo easier, make sure you're taking advantage of Blender's theme settings. You can use 
them to increase the size of vertices or to give better contrast to vertices and edges. You may also find it 
helpful to turn on the X-ray button in the Object buttons (F7 -> Draw panel). You may also find it useful to 
have multiple 3D viewports open so that you can see whether the vertex placement is as you desired without 
needing to rotate the model. 



Step Five 




Step Five 



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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces 



Step Six 



Continue adding points around the rest of the model. Make sure to connect vertices with edges so that you can 
see the topology you are creating. 



Step Six 




Step Six 

Once you have all the vertices and edges created, you can turn off Retopo and hide the UVsphere. Still in 
EditMode, start selecting groups of edges and use F to add faces. When you're done, you should have a 
complete surface. 



Step Seven 




Step Seven 

Add a mirror modifier and, optionally, subsurf . 



Previous: Manual/Sculp tMode 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Curves 



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Curves Curves 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.40 



Curves 

Curves and Surfaces are objects just as meshes are objects except they are expressed in terms of mathematical 
functions, rather than as a series of points. 

Blender implements both Bezier and Non Uniform Rational B-Splines ( NURBS ) curves and surfaces. Both 
are defined in terms of a set of "control vertices" which define a "control polygon", though each follow a 
different set of mathematical laws. The way the curve and the surface are interpolated might seem similar, at 
first glance, to Catmull-Clark subdivision surfaces. The curve is interpolated while the surface is attracted. 

When compared to meshes, curves and surfaces have both advantages and disadvantages. Because curves are 
defined by less data, they produce nice results using less memory at modelling time, whereas the demands 
increase at rendering time. 

Some modelling techniques, such as extruding a profile along a path, are only possible with curves. But the 
very fine control available on a per-vertex basis on a mesh, is not possible with curves. 

There are times when curves and surfaces are more advantageous than meshes, and times when meshes are 
more useful. If you have read the chapter on Basic Mesh Modelling and Advanced Mesh Modelling , and you 
read this chapter, you will be able to choose whether to use meshes or curves. 




Logo Thumbnail 

Working with curves in Blender is fairly simple and surprisingly there are very few HotKeys when creating 
curves. It is what you do with those curves that really makes the difference. A curve by itself is just that, a 
curve. But a curve applied to another curve can create very complex objects. 

When you have finished reading and learning about Bezier and NURBS curves there are several more 
advanced examples on the application of curves in the tutorials section for modelling complex objects. 

There is a Working example that shows how to create an interesting bird-like logo, {Logo). The tutorial 
covers most aspects of working with Bezier curves including: adding curves, setting up a background image 
as a template guide and bevehng the final curve. 

In addition, the Tutorial section has examples on both Skinning and Curve deform techniques. 



BA©ziers 

BAOzier curves are the most commonly used curve for designing letters or logos. They are also widely used 
in animation, both as paths for objects to move along and as IPO curves to change the properties of objects as 
a function of time. 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 349 



Curves Curves 

There are three panels designed to assist in working with and modifying curves: Curve and Surface . Curve 
Tools and Curve Tools 1 . Each panel has buttons that change the characteristics of curves. 



— 



Curve example. 

(Curve example) is the most basic curve you can create. It consists of two control points or vertices, labeled 
"C", the curve "B", handles "H"s and an object center "O". 

Selecting the control point also selects the handles, and allows you to move the complete vertex. Selecting one 
or more handles allows you to change the shape of the curve by dragging the handles. 

To create a curve use the Toolbox 's Add/Curve/BA©zier Curve menu entry to add a new curve, {Curve 
example). By default the new curve exists only in 2D. For example, if you created the curve in the Top view, 
the shape of the curve can only be change in the XY Plane. You can apply transforms to the curve but you 
can't change its shape in 3D. 




3D Curve - a Path 

To work with the curve in 3D you need to turn on the 3D property of the curve using the 3D button on the 
Curve and Surface panel. You can visually see that a curve is in 3D by noticing the curve has railroad tracks 
or marks. {3D Curve) is a 3D curve and {Curve example) is a 2D curve. 

A handle is always tangent to the curve. The 'steepness' of the curve is controlled by the handle's length, any 
"H" to a "C". The longer a handle is the steeper the curve (i.e. the more curve wants to hug the handle). 

There are four types of handles {Types of Handles for BA©zier curves): 

• Free Handle (black). The handles are independent of each other. To convert to Free handles use H. H 
also toggles between Free and Aligned. 

• Aligned Handle (purple). These handles always lie in a straight line. Hotkey: H (toggles between Free 
and Aligned). The curve enters and exits the control point along handles. 

• Vector Handle (green). Both parts of a handle always point to the previous handle or the next handle. 
Hotkey: V; 

• Auto Handle (yellow). This handle has a completely automatic length and direction, set by Blender to 
ensure the smoothest result. Hotkey: Shift H. 



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Curves 



Curve resolution 




Types of Handles for Bezier curves 

Handles can be grabbed, rotated and scaled exactly as ordinary vertices in a mesh would. As soon as the 
handles are moved, the handle type is modified automatically: 

• Auto Handles becomes Aligned; 

• Vector Handles becomes Free. 



Curve resolution 

Although the BAOzier curve is a continuous mathematical object it must nevertheless be represented in 
discrete form from a rendering point of view. This is done by setting a resolution property, which defines the 
number of points which are computed between every pair of control points. 




Resolution example 



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Curves 



Bevel and Taper Objects 



A separate resolution can be set for each BA©zier curve by adjusting the DefResolIU Field. The default is 6. 
(Resolution example) is an example of the same curve, superimposed, with the aid of Gimp, showing two 
different resolution settings. The lighter shaded curve has a low resolution of "4"; the curve begins to look 
linear. The darker curve has a resolution of "12" and is very smooth. Note: high resolutions may look nicer 
but they can slow down interactive rendering if there is a large number of curves. 



Bevel and Taper Objects 




e and Surface 



UV Oreo 




PrintLen ) 


Center 


Center New 


Center Cursor 



PathLen: 100 



CurvePath 



CurveFollo 



CurveStretch 



PathDist Offs 



DefResolU: M 



RenResolU 



Width: 1.000 



Extrude: 0.00 



Bevel Depth: 0.000 



BevResol: 



BevOb:Die 



TaperOb:Taper 



3D Curve modified by Bevel and Taper curves 

A Bevel object, applied to a Curve object, forms a skin for the curve. Where the curve is the path or length of 
a pipe, the Bevel Object defines the outside shape, like the outside of a cord, or hose pipe. Normally the Bevel 
is a simple round circle, and thus makes the curve into a pipe or soda can. The Bevel shape must be 
two-dimenstional, and it can be rectangular for simulating wrought iron or flat steel, oval (with a crease) for a 
power cord, star-shaped for a shooting star illustration; anything that can be physically formed by extrusion 
(extruded). 

A Taper object is an open curve with control points above its object center. When applied to a Beveled Curve, 
it changes the diameter of the Bevel along the length of the curve, like a python just having eaten a rat, or like 
a hose bulging up under pressure, or a vine growing. 

For adjusting proper size of Bevel effect for individual curve's segment use Set Radius option accessable 
through W-4. Default value is 1.0. 

Caution: no Bevel Effect if bevel Radius parameter set to 0.0. 



NURBS 

NURBS curves are defined as rational polynomials and are more general, strictly speaking, than conventional 
B-Splines and Bezier curves inasmuch as they are able to exactly follow any contour. For example a Bezier 
circle is a polynomial approximation of a circle, and this approximation is noticeable, whereas a NURBS 
circle is exactly a circle. 

NURBS curves require a little bit more understanding of the underlying components that make up a NURBS 
curve in order to get full use of them. They have a large set of variables, which allow you to create 
mathematically pure forms. However, working with them requires a little more discussion on the various parts 
of a NURBS curve. 



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352 



Curves 



Uniform-Endpoints 



Uniform-Endpoints 

We start with Knots. NURBS curves have a knot vector, a row of numbers that specifies the parametric 
definition of the curve (i.e. they describe the range of infiuence for each of the control-points). Remember the 
control-points from Bezier curves, NURBS have them too and each control-point affects some part of the 
curve along that range. The control-points appear as purple vertices. 




Default Uniform curve 

{Default Uniform curve) is the default NURBS curve created using the "NURBS Curve" menu item from the 
Toolbox's Add menu and is an example of a Uniform curve. The curve itself is drawn in black, labeled "C" 
and the control-points are drawn in purple; one out of the 4 is labeled "P". 

You can't manipulate the Knot vector directly but you can configure it using two pre-sets: Uniform and 
Endpoint. 

The Uniform button produces a uniform division for closed curves, but when used with open curves you will 
get "free" ends, which are difficult to locate precisely. 




Endpoint curve 

The Endpoint button sets the Knot vector in such a way that the first and last vertices are always part of the 
curve, which makes them much easier to place. (Endpoint curve) is an example of applying the Endpoint 
button to the (Default Uniform curve). You can see that the curve has now been pulled to the end 
control-points labeled "A" and "B". 



Order 

The Order field is the 'depth' or degree of the curve (i.e. you are specifying how much the control-points are 
taken into account for calculating the curve shape). 

Order 1 is a point and is not an available depth setting. Order 2 is linear (Order 2 curve), Order 3 is quadratic 
(Order 3 curve), (Order 4 curve) and so on. The valid range is "2" to "6". Notice that as the Order rises the 
curve moves away from the control-points. 




Order 2 curve. 



Order 3 curve. 



Order 4 curve. 



If your curve has 6 or more control-points the Order can not be set higher than 6. 6 is the highest Order 



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Curves 



Weight 



allowable. If you have less than 6 control-points then the highest Order is limited by the number of 
control-points. For example, if your curve has 5 control-points then the highest Order allowable is 5. 

Always use an order of 5, if possible, for curve paths because it behaves tluidly under all circumstances, 
without producing irritating discontinuities in the movement. For example, if you have a cube assigned to 
travel along a NURBS path with an Order of say 2 then the cube will appear to move roughly (or jerky) along 
the path. 

Math Note 

Mathematically speaking the Order is the order of both the Numerator and the Denominator of the rational 
polynomial defining the NURBS curve. 



Weight 

NURBS curves have a Weight assigned to each control-point that controls how much each "pulls" on the 
curve. Think of it as if each control-point has an arm that reaches out and grabs hold of the curve and tries to 
pull on it. The larger the Weight the more the control-point pulls on the curve, see (Weight of 5) and (Weight 
of 20). The valid range of Weight settings are 0.1 to 100.0. 






Weight of 5. 



Weight of 20. 



The larger Weight of 20 pulls the curve towards the control-point labeled "C". Each control-point can have a 
different Weight setting. As the Weight for a control-point increases the curve will hug the control-points 
closer. If the Weights are large enough the curve will almost follow the control-points, see (Weight of 100). 



i 



Weight of 100. 

The control-points can effectively compete with each other. For example, the control-point with the largest 
Weight will pull the curve towards it and away from the others. If all the control-points have the same Weight 
then the Weight is effectively canceled, as if none had Weights. 

In (Weight of 100) the top two control-points have their Weight set at 100.0, labeled "A" and "B". The 
opposite control-points have their Weight at 1.0. You can see that the curve is "pulled" toward control-points 
"A" and "B". And at such a high Weight the curve almost follows the control-points. 

On the Weight panel there are four preset Weights that provide typical Weight settings for certain kinds of 
control-point arrangments. Some generate Weight settings that are used for control-points that form circles. 

To see the Weight value of a control-point open the Transform Properties panel using N and look at the 
Vertex W field. The Weight field doesn't show the Weight. 



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354 



Curves Resolution 

Resolution 

As with Beziers curves NURBS curves' Resolution can be controlled from the Curve Tools panel. 

Opening-Closing-Deleting-Joining-Bevel-Taper 

As with Beziers curves, Opening, Closing, Deleting and Joining NURBS curves is performed using the same 
Hotkeys and same Curve Tools, with the same rules applying, see Beziers curves section. 



Previous: Manual/Retopo Contents Next: Manual/Editing Curves 



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Curves Add new segment 

Add new segment 

Mode: Edit mode 
Hotkey: Ctrl LMB E 
Menu: Curve af Extmde 



Description 

Once a curve is created you can add new segments by extruding it. Each new segment is added to the end of 
the curve. A new segment will only be added if a single vertex, or handle, at one end of the curve is selected. 
If two or more vertices are selected nothing is added. 



Opening and Closing a Curve 

Mode: Edit mode 

Hotkey: C 

Menu: Curve af Toggle Cyclic 



Description 

This toggles between an open curve and closed curve. The shape of the closing segment is based on the 
handles. The only time a handle is adjusted after closing is if the handle is an Auto handle. (Open curve) and 
(Closed curve) is the same curve open and closed. 

This action only works on the original starting control-point or the last control-point added. Deleting a 
segment(s) dosen't change how the action applies; it still operates only on the starting and last control-points. 
This means that C may actually join two curves instead of closing a single curve. 



Examples 




Open curve. Closed curve. Closed curve (Solid). 

If the curve is closed the curve is automatically considered a surface with an area. This means it is rendered as 
a solid (Closed curve (Solid)) and it is renderable using F12. 



Deleting a Segment(s) 

Mode: Edit mode 

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Curves 



Description 



Hotkey: X 

Menu: Curve af Delete 

Description 

A segment is defined implicitly by selecting two adjacent control-points. You can't explicitly select a 
segment; you must select two adjacent control-points. Once the control points are selected you can use the 
Erase/Delete menu and selecting the Segment menu item. 



Hints 

You can delete multiple segments by selecting one or more control-points or handles. Use the Erase/Delete 
menu and select Selected. 



Joining two curves 

Mode: Edit mode 

Hotkey: F 

Menu: Curve af Make Segment 



Description 

Joining curves is really the act of making a segment between the two curves. To join two seperate use one 
control point from each curve. The two curves are joined by a segment to become a single curve. {One curve 
joined) is the result of joining {Two curves). The segment, labeled "S", is the new segment joining the two 
curves. We use F for the hotkey because it is similar to making a new Face in a mesh. 




Two curves. 



One curve joined. 



You can not close a curve by joining the curves; you must Close the curve. You will get the error "Can't 
make segment" when you attempt to join using the starting and last control-point. For example, in {One 
curve joined) you must use Close to close the curve. 



Previous: Manual/Curves 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Curves Deform 



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357 



Curves 



Curve Deform 



Curve Deform Section 

This document was originally from a tutorial section. A copy of it was made and put in this section because 
the main index of the user manual for Blender did not seem cover Curve Deforming directly but only as a 
tutorial. This document is out of date and needs some corrections but should work for Curve Deforming. 

Curve Deform 

Curve Deform provides a simple but efficient method of defining a deformation on a mesh. By parenting a 
mesh object to a curve, you can deform the mesh up or down the curve by moving the mesh along, or 
orthogonal to, the dominant axis. 

The Curve Deform works on a dominant axis, X, Y, or Z. This means that when you move your mesh in the 
dominant direction, the mesh will traverse along the curve. Moving the mesh in an orthogonal direction will 
move the mesh object closer or further away from the curve. The default settings in Blender map the Y axis to 
the dominant axis. When you move the object beyond the curve endings the object will continue to deform 
based on the direction vector of the curve endings. 

A Tip 

Try to position your object over the curve immediately after you have added it, before adding the curve 
deform. This gives the best control over how the deformation works. 



Interface 

When parenting a mesh to a curve (CTRL-P), you will be presented with a menu. Make Parent menu. 
By selecting Curve Deform you enable the Curve Deform function on the mesh object. 



Make Parent 

Normal Parent 
Follow Path 



Curve Deform 



Make Parent menu. 

The dominant axis setting is set on the mesh object. By default the dominant axis in Blender is Y. This can be 
changed by selecting one of the Track X, Y or Z buttons in the Anim Panel, Anim settings panel. , in Object 
Context (F7). 



TrackX 



2 -X -Y -Z 



Uf3X I V 



Draw Key |Draw Key S^ Powertrack SlowPar| 




DupllFrames | DupllVerts | Rot | No Speed ] 


DupSta: 1 


DupOn: 1 


< DupEndlOO 


DupOff 






wmawiMBlilMail Offs Particle 




'TimeOfTset: 0.00 


Automatic Time 


PrSpeed 



Anim settings panel. 



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358 



Curves 



Example 



Cyclic curves work as expected where the object deformations traverse along the path in cycles. 

CurveStretch provides an option to let the mesh object stretch, or squeeze, over the entire curve. This option is 
in Edit Context (F9) for the curve. See Curve and Surface panel. 



▼ Curve and Surface. 


■ 






m^ -OT-drcrcr 


1 DefResolU: 6 |Set| 








[K^^|g|P|i^^ 3D 1 


Centre 




Centre New 


* Width: 1.000 


Centre Cursor 


< Extl: 0.000 




* PathLen:100 


ExtZ: 0.000 


CurvePath|CurveFoilo 


BevResol: 


1 CurveStretch 


BevOb: 


1 PrintLen |jmi|l« 


TaperOb: 





Curve and Surface panel. 

Example 

Let's make a simple example: 

• Remove default cube object from scene and add a Monkey! (SHIFT-A -> Add -> Mesh -> Monkey, 
Add a Monkey!). 




Add a Monkey! 



• Now press TAB to exit Edit Mode. 

• Now add a curve. (SHIFT-A -> Add -> Curve -> Bezier Curve, Add a Curve). 



p^ Text 


> 




Bezier Curve 


i; 3 Meta 
j'^ Surface 


Bezier Circle 
NURBS Curve 
NURBS Circle 
Path 


SS Mesh 


► 


Transform 


Select 
View 



Add a Curve. 



• While in Edit Mode, move the control points of the curve as shown in Edit Curve., then exit 
EditMode, (TAB). 



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Curves 



Example 




Edit Curve. 



• Select the Monkey, (RMB), and then shift select the curve, (SHIFT-RMB). 

• Press CTRL-P to open up the Make Parent menu. 

• Select Curve Deform. (Make Parent menu). 

• The Monkey should be positioned on the curve as {Monkey on a Curve). 




Monkey on a Curve. 

• Now if you select the Monkey, (RMB), and move it, (G), in the Y-direction, (the dominant axis by 
default), the monkey will deform nicely along the curve. 

A Tip 

If you press MMB while moving the Monkey you will constrain the movement to one axis only. 

• In Monkey deformations., you can see the Monkey at different positions along the curve. To get a 
cleaner view over the deformation I have activated SubSurf with Subdiv 2 and Set Smooth on the 
Monkey mesh. (F9 to get Edit options). 

A Tip 



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360 



Curves 



Example 



Moving the Monkey in directions other than the dominant axis will create some odd deformations. 
Sometimes this is what you want to achieve, so you'll need to experiment and try it out! 




Monkey deformations. 



Previous: Manual/Partll/Advanced Mesh 
Modelling 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Partll/S urf ace s 



Use this navigator if you wish to follow the Blender user manual index flow: 



Previous: Manual/Editing Curves 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Surfaces 



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Surfaces 



Surfaces 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.40 



Surfaces 



Surfaces are actually an extension o f NURBS curves but are still a unique object unto themselves. Whereas a 
curve produces only one-dimensional interpolation, Surfaces have a second extra dimension of interpolation. 
The first dimension is U, as for curves, and the second dimension is V. 

You may ask yourself "but the surface appears to be 3D, why is it only 2D?". In order to be 3D the object 
needs to have "Volume" and a surface doesn't have a volume, it is infinitely thin. If it has a volume the surface 
would have a thickness. Even though the surface appears to extend in 3D, it has no volume, and hence it only 
has two interpolation coordinates, U and V. U is the Yellow grid lines and V is the pink grid lines in 

{Surface). 

Many of the concepts from NURBS curves carry directly over to NURBS Surfaces, such as control-points. 
Order, Weight, Resolution etc.. 

For NURBS Surfaces the control-points form a grid and is sometimes called a "Cage". The grid performs 
exactly like the control-points of a NURBS curve; they control the boundary of the surface. 

To help get started in creating surfaces there are four preset NURBS Surfaces: {Surface), {Tube), {Sphere) and 
{Donut). 




Donut. 



Sphere. 



Each preset is accessable from the Surface sub-menu of the Toolbox menu where each is designed as a 
starting point for creating more complex surfaces, of which the most common starting surface is {Surface). 

There are also two preset NURBS Surface Curves: {Curve) and {Circle). 



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Surfaces 



Uniform-Endpoints 







Curve. 



Circle. 



Although they visually look like NURBS curves they are not. Blender internally treats NURBS Surface 
Curves and NURBS Curves completely different. There are several attributes that seperate them but the most 
important is that a NURBS Curve has a single interpolation axis and a NURBS Surface Curve has two 
interpolation axes. 

Visually you can tell which is which by entering Edit mode and looking at the 3D window's header; either the 
header shows "Surface" or "Curve" as one of the menu choices. Also, you can Extrude a NURBS Surface 
Curve to create a surface but you can't with a NURBS Curve. 

Use Surfaces to create and revise fluid curved surfaces. Surfaces can be cyclical in both directions, allowing 
you to easily create a Donut shape, and they can be drawn as 'solids' in Edit mode. This makes working with 
surfaces quite easy. 

Note 

Currently Blender has a basic tool set for Surfaces, with limited ability to create holes and melt surfaces. 
Future versions will contain increased functionality. 



Uniform-Endpoints 



Just like with NURBS curves . NURBS Surfaces have a knot vector and the configuration of the knot values 
are controlled by the Uniform and Endpoint buttons. Each interpolation axis can be independently set to either 
Uniform or Endpoint. 




Endpoint U 

In (Endpoint U), the U interpolation axis is labeled as "U" and the V interpolation axis is labeled as "V". The 
U's interpolation axis has been set to Endpoint and as such the surface now extends to the outer edges from 
"El" to "E2" along the U interpolation axis. 

To cause the surface to extend to all edges you would set the V's axis to Endpoint as well. 



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Surfaces 



Order 



Order 

As with NURBS Curves . Order specifies how much the control-points are taken into account for calculating 
the curve of the surface shape. For high Orders, {Order 4 surface), the surface pulls away from the 
control-points creating a smoother surface; assuming that the Resolution is high enough. For low Orders , 
{Order 2 surface), the surface follows the control-points creating a surface that tends to follow the grid cage. 




Order 2 surface. 



Order 4 surface. 



For illustration purposes, in both {Order 4 surface) and {Order 2 surface), the knot vectors were set to 
Endpoint causing the surface to extend to all edges. 



Weight 




Surface Weight 100 

Again, as with NURBS Curves . Weight specifies how much each control-point "pulls" on the curve. 

In {Surface Weight 100), a single control-point, labeled "C", has had its Weight set to 100.0 while all others 
are at their default of 1.0. As you can see that control-point /7a//i' the surface towards it. 

If all the control-points have the same Weight then each effectively cancels each other out. It is the difference 
in the Weights that cause the surface to move towards or away from a control-point. 

The Weight of any particular control-point is visible in the Transform properties panel which is accessed 
using the N. 

See NURBS Curves Weight for further details. 



Preset Weights 



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Surfaces 



Resolution 




A sphere surface 

NURBS can create pure shapes such as circles, cylinders, and spheres (but note that a Bezier circle is not a 
pure circle.) To create pure circles, globes, or cylinders, you must set the weights of the control-points. This 
is not intuitive, and you should read more on NURBS before trying this. 

Basically, to produce a circular arc from a curve with three control-points, the end points must have a unitary 
weight, while the weight of the central control point must be equal to one-half the cosine of half the angle 
between the segments joining the points. (A sphere surface) shows this for a globe. Three standard numbers 
are included as presets in the Curve Tools panel. 



Resolution 

Just like NURBS Curves . Resolution controls the detail of the surface. The higher the Resolution the more 
detailed and smoother the surface is. The lower the Resolution the rougher the surface. 

(Resolution 4x4 surface) is an example of a surface resolution of 4 for both U and V. {Resolution 20x20 
surface) is an example of a surface resolution of 20 for both U and V. 




Resolution 4x4 surface. 



Resolution 20x20 surface. 



For illustration purposes the knot vectors where set to Endpoint causing the surface to extend to all edges. 



Previous: Manual/Curves Deform 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Editing Surfaces 



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365 



Surfaces 



Adding or Extruding 



Adding or Extruding 

Mode: Edit mode 

Hotkey: E 

Menu: Surface af Extrude 



Description 

Once the tool is activated the extrusion happens immediately and you are placed into Grab mode, ready to 
drag the new extruded surface to its destination. 



Examples 



Images (Selecting control-point) to (Complete) show a typical extrusion along the side of a surface. 

In (Selecting control-point) and (Shift-R), a row of control-points were highlighted by selecting a single 
control-point, labeled "C", and then using the handy row select tool (Shift R) to select the rest of the 
control-points. 





Selecting control-point. Shift-R. 

The edge is then extruded using the E as shown in (Extruding). Notice how the mesh has bunched up next to 
the highlighted edge; the area in question is highlighted in a light-grey cicular area. That is because the new 
extruded surface section is bunched up there as well. 




Complete. 



By moving the new section away from the area the surface begins to "unbunch", as shown in (Complete). The 
direction of movement is marked with a white arrow, labeled "E", and the new section is labeled "S". 

You can continue this process of extruding — or adding — new surface sections until you have reached the 
final shape for your model. 



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Surfaces Cycling (Opening and Closing) 

Cycling (Opening and Closing) 

Mode: Edit mode 

Hotkey: C 

Menu: Surface af Toggle Cyclic 



Description 

Cycling a surface is similar to Opening and Closing a NURBS curve except that a surface has an inside and 
outside surface. 

To cycle a surface use C and choose either "cyclic U" or cyclic V" from the Toggle menu. The surface's outer 
edges will join together to form a "closed" surface. 

Attempting to cycle a non-outer edge will result in nothing happening. 



Deleteing/Erasing surfaces 

Mode: Edit mode 

Hotkey: X 

Menu: Curve af Delete 

Description 

Deleting requires that all control-points along an interpolation axis are highlighted. 

Hints 

A handy Hotkey (Shift R) is provided that makes it easier to select all the control-points along an axis. Just 
highlight a control-point(s) and use Shift R to toggle between the two interpolation axes that intersect the last 
control-point selected. 




Before. After. 

In {Before) a row of control-points have been selected by initially selecting the control-point labeled "A" and 
using Shift R to select the remaining control-points. Then, using the Erase menu (X), the selected row of 

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Surfaces 



Joining or IVIerging two surfaces 



control-points is erased resulting in (After). 

Joining or l\/lerging two surfaces 

Mode: Edit mode 

Hotkey: F 

Menu: Surface af Make Segment 

Description 

Just like NURBS Curves . Joining requires that a single edge, a row of control-points, from two seperate 
surfaces are selected. This means that the surfaces must be part of the same object. For example, you can't join 
two surfaces while in Object mode . Joining can only take place while in Edit mode which requires that both 
surfaces be part of the same object. 



Examples 

(Joining ready) is an example of two NURBS Surface curves, not NURBS curves, in Edit mode ready to be 
joined. (Joining complete) is the result of joining the two curves. 




Joining ready. 



Joining complete. 



Hints 

If not enough surfaces are selected then you will get an error message stating "Too few selections to merge". 

Most of the time the Join tool will try its best to join the two surfaces based on the selected edges from those 
surfaces. But there are times when joining doesn't happen. Generally this occurs when the selected 
control-points are not completely describing the edge/row that you want to join. Select more control-points 
until the edge is completely highlighted. 

Note that the edges do not have to be outside edges. You can join inside edges, although this is not typically 
done. 



Previous: Manual/Surfaces 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Surfaces Skinning 



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Surfaces 



Skinning 



Skinning Section 

This document was originally from a tutorial section. A copy of it was made and put in this section because 
the main index of the user manual for Blender did not seem cover skinning for surfaces/mesh/curves. This 
document is out of date and needs some corrections but should work for surface skinning. 



Skinning 



Skinning is the fine art of defining a surface using two or more profiles. In Blender you do so by preparing as 
many curves of the the desired shape and then converting them to a single NURBS surface. 

As an example we will create a sailboat. The first thing to do, in side view (NUM3), is to add a Surface Curve. 
Be sure to add a Surface curve and not a curve of Bezier or NURBS flavour, or the trick won't work (A 
Surface curve for skinning.). 




A Surface curve for skinning. 



Give the curve the shape of the middle cross section of the boat, by adding vertices as needed with the Split 
button and, possibly, by setting the NURBS to Endpoint both on 'U' and 'V {Profile of the ship.) as needed. 







■ 


1 




'-■:__ 


._^' 


1 




1 
1 


1 

1 


1 








J 



Profile of the ship. 

Now duplicate (SHIFT-D) the curve as many times as necessary, to the left and to the right {Multiple profiles 
along ship 's axis.). Adjust the curves to match the various sections of the ship at different points along its 
length. To this end, blueprints help a lot. You can load a blueprint on the background (as we did for the logo 
design in this chapter) to prepare all the cross section profiles {Multiple profiles of the correct shapes.). 



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Surfaces 



Skinning 



Note that the surface we'll produce will transition smoothly from one profile to the next. To create abrupt 
changes you would need to place profiles quite close to each other, as is the case for the profile selected in 
Multiple profiles of the correct shapes.. 




Multiple profiles along ship's axis. 




Multiple profiles of the correct shapes. 

Now select all curves (with A or B), and join them by pressing CTRL-J and by answering Yes to the question 
'Join selected NURBS?'. The profiles are all highlighted in Joined profiles.. 




Joined profiles. 



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Skinning 



Now switch to EditMode (TAB) and select all control points with A; then press F. The profiles should be 
'skinned' and converted to a surface {Skinned surface in edit mode.). 

Note 

As should be evident from the first and last profiles in this example, the cross-sections need not be defined 
on a family of mutually orthogonal planes. 




Skinned surface in edit mode. 

Tweak the surface, if necessary, by moving the control points. Final hull, shows a shaded view. You will very 
probably need to increase ResolU and RelolV to obtain a better shape. 




Final hull. 



Profile setup 



The only limitation to this otherwise very powerful technique is that all profiles must exhibit the same 
number of control points. This is why it is a good idea to model the most complex cross section first and then 
duplicate it, moving control points as needed, without adding or removing them, as we've shown in this 
example. 



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Surfaces Skinning 

Previous: Manual/Editing Surfaces Contents Next: Manual/Text 



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Text Text 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.40 

Text 

Mode: Edit Mode (Text) 
Panel: Editing Context Text 
Hotkey: F9 
Menu: Add Text 

Description 

Text is considered a special Curve type that is completely seperate from any of the other Curve types. Not 
only does the Font system have its own built-in font but it can use external fonts too, including PostScript 
Type 1, OpenType and TrueType fonts. 

Options 




Created text 

Creating a Text object is simple, use Add af Text. Once the text is created you are placed in Edit mode with 
the word "Text" inserted as a default placeholder, see {Created text). The Black block is the cursor. 



Examples 
Agate OLii \ 



Text Examples. 

{Text Examples) shows some examples of various fonts in action including the "blue" font that has been 
applied to a curve path. 



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Editing Text Editing Text 

Hints 

A maximum of 50000 characters is allowed per text object, however, be forewarned that the more characters a 
single text object has, the slower the object will respond interactively. 

Editing Text 

Mode: Edit Mode (Text) 
Hotkey: see below 

Description 

Editing Text is similar to using a standard text editor but is not as full featured and is slightly different. 



Options 

Exit Edit Mode 

Tab doesn't insert a tab character in the text, but rather enters and exits edit mode, as with other object 

types. 
Copy 

To copy text to the buffer use Ctrl C. 
Cut and Copy 

To cut and copy text to the buffer use Ctrl X. 
Paste 

To paste text from the buffer use Ctrl V. 
Delete all text 

To completely erase or delete all text Ctrl Backspace. 
Home/End; 

Homeand End move the cursor to the begining and end of a line respectively. 
Next/Previous word 

To move the cursor on word a boundry use Ctrl at or Ctrl af. 

The text buffer does not communicate with the desktop. It only works from within Blender. To insert text 
from outside Blender see Inserting text. 

Selecting text consists of holding down the Shift while using the Arrow af keys or Page Up / Page Down 
keys. The selection is remembered even in Object mode. 



Inserting Text 

You can insert text three different ways: from the internal text buffer (Editing), the "Lorem" button (Misc) or 
a text file. 

To load text from a text file click the "Insert Text" button on the Font panel. The will bring up a "File 
Browser" window for navigating to a valid UTF-8 file. As usual, be careful that the file doesn't have too 
many characters as interactive response will slow down. 



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Changing Fonts Changing Fonts 

Changing Fonts 

Mode: Edit Mode (Text) 
Panel: Editing Context Text 
Hotkey: F9 



Description 

Blender comes with a built-in font by default and is displayed in the listbox next to the "Load" button on the 
Font panel. The built-in font is always present and shows in the listbox as "<builtin>". 



Load -ibuiltin;- 



Font listbox and button 

Options 

J 1 -| ^ File Add Timeline Game K 

[p] |/usr/lib/X11/fontsn'ype1/ 
lij Ubuiltins 




-041 9bt_.afm 1 5 395 

c0419bt_.pfb 40 766 

c0582bt_.afm 15 407 

c05S2bt_.pfb^^^_^ 39 511 

Loading a Type 1 font file 

To use a different Font you need to load it first by clicking the "Load" button in the Font panel and navigating 
to a valid font. The "File Browser" window will highlight any valid fonts by placing a small purplish rectangle 
next to each vaUd entry as shown in (Loading a Type 1 font file). The white circle highlights an example of a 
valid font. 

Un*x note 

Fonts are typically located under /usr/lib/fonts, or some variant like /usr/lib/Xl 1/fonts, but not always. They 
may be in other locations as well, such as /usr/share/local or /usr/local/share, and possibly related subtrees. 

If you select a font that Blender can't understand, you will get the error "Not a valid font". 

A seperate font is required for each style. For example, you will need to load an Italics font in order to make 
characters or words italic. Once the font is loaded you can apply that font "Style" to the selected characters or 
the whole object. In all, you would need to load a minimum of three different types of fonts to represent each 
style (Normal, Italics, Bold). 



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Typography Typography 

Typography 

Mode: Edit Mode (Text) 
Panel: Editing Context Text 
Hotkey: F9 

Description 

Blender has a number of typographic controls for changing the style and layout of text. 

Options 

Bold, Italics and Underline 

Italics 

Toggled with Ctrl I, font set with the "F' button. 
Bold 

Toggled with Ctrl B, font set with the "B" button. 
Underline 

Toggled with Ctrl U or by using the "U" button. 

Blender's B and I buttons don't work the same way as other applications. They serve as placeholders for you 
to load up certain fonts manually, which get applied when you use Ctrl B or Ctrl I when editing text. 

To apply the B old/Italic s/Underline attribute to a set of characters you either turn on Bold/Italics/Underline 
prior to selecting characters or highlight first and then toggle Bold/Italics/Underline with a hotkey. 
Bold/Italics/Underline is applied based on a loaded font. For example, some characters may have one font 
representing normal characters and the builtin font representing Bold; see {Bold text). 

Bascially each font style is represented by a loaded font. One font may represents Bold while another font 
represents Italics (i.e. One font per style.) 

Alignment 

Flush 

Always flushes the line, even when it's still being entered, it uses character spacing (kerning) to fill 

lines. 
Justify 

Only flushes a line when it is terminated either by wordwrap or by Enter, it uses whitespace instead 

of character spacing (kerning) to fill lines. 

Both "Flush" and "Justify" only work within frames. 

Word spacing 

A factor by which whitespace is scaled in width. 

Kerning 

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Text Frames Text Frames 

Manual kerning, between any pair of characters, can be controlled by press Alt af or Alt af to 
decrease/increase kerning by steps of 0.1. 

Examples 




Bold text 

In {Bold text), one font is used for "Te" and a different font for "xt". 

Text Frames 

Mode: Object Mode / Edit Mode (Text) 
Panel: Editing Context Text 
Hotkey: F9 



Description 

Text Frames allow you to distribute the text amongst rectangular areas within a single text object. An arbitrary 
number of freely positionable and resizable text Frames are allowed per text object. 

Text flows continuously from the lowest-numbered Frame to the highest-numbered Frame with text inside 
each frame word-wrapped. Text flows between Frames when a lower-numbered frame can't fit anymore text. 
If the last Frame is reached text overflows out of the Frame. 



Options 



1 TeKtFrsme: 1 



Inser t ' Delete 

X:0.00 V:0.00 

Width: 5.00 



Height: 0.00 



Text Frame 

Frames are controlled from the upper right corner of the Font panel; see (Text Frame). 

Frame size 

By default the first Frame for a new text object, and any additional Frames, has a size of Zero for both Width 
and Height, which means the Frame is initially not visible. 

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Text Frames Options 

Frames with a width of are ignored completely during text flow (no wordwrap happens) and Frames with a 
height of flow forever (no flowing to the next textframe). 

In order for the frame to become visible the Frame's width must be greater than 0. 

Note 

Technically the height is never actually because the font itself always contributes height. 




Frame width 

{Frame width) is a text object with a width of 5.0. And because the frame width is greater than it is now 
visible and is drawn in the active theme colour as a dashed rectangle. The text has overflowed because the text 
has reached the end of the last frame, the default frame. 



Adding-Deleting a Frame 

To add a Frame click the "Insert" button on the Font panel. A new frame is added with a default width and 
height of which means it is not visible, nor will text flow from it into another frame. Be sure to set an offset 
for the new frame in the X and Y fields. Just an X setting will create a new column. 

To delete a Frame click the "Delete" button on the Font panel. Any text in higher frames will be re-flowed 
downward into lower frames. 



Examples 

Text Frames are very similar to the concept oi frames from a desktop publishing application. You use frames 
to control the placement and flow of text. 



Text Flow 



ptem^r h tMpmr dyp©r^ 



Text 1 

With two or more frames you can organize text to a finer degree. For example, create a text object and enter 
"Blender is super duper"; see {Text 1). This text object has a frame, it just isn't visible because the width is 0. 




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Text Frames 



Examples 



Text 2 

Set the width to 5.0. The frame is now visible and text is wrapping according to the new width, as shown in 
(Text 2). Notice that the text has overflowed out of the frame. This is because the text has reached the end of 
the last frame which just happens to be the default/initial frame. 

When we add another frame and set its width and height the text will flow into the new frame. 



Default frame 






Frame 2; 



Texts 

Clicking on "Insert" will add a new frame (labeled "Frame 2" in {Text 3)) with the same attributes as the 
previous frame (labeled "Default frame" in {Text 3)). 

Notice that the text has not yet flowed into this new frame. That is because the previous, or lower numbered, 
frame has a height of 0. 

Remember the height field may be but the font itself contibutes height. The font's height does not count. 
This means the height field value is an addition to the font's height. 




Text 4 

To get text to flow into "Frame 2" we need to change the height of the default/initial frame. In {Text 4) the 
height of the initial frame — in pink — has been increased to 0.1. 

Now the text flows from the initial frame into "Frame 2". Notice that the text overflows out of "Frame 2". 
Again this is because the text has reached the end of the last frame. 



Multiple columns 





;ttw@ c@lyimni ^e wididh 
b® y@yr 
■Th^iniJjnii^irt. 



i 



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379 



Curve and Surface attributes Curve and Surface attributes 

Texts 

To create two columns of text just create a text object and adjust the initial frame's width and height to your 
requirements, then insert a new frame. The new frame will have the same size as the initial frame. Set the X 
position to something greater or less than the width of the initial frame; see {Text 5). 



Multiple Materials 

Mode: Object Mode / Edit Mode (Text) 
Panel: Editing Context Link and Materials 
Hotkey: F9 

Description 

Each character can have a different Material index in order to have different materials on different characters. 



Options 

You can assign indices either as you type, or after by selecting blocks of text and cUcking on the "Assign" 
button in the Link and Materials Panel. 



Examples 




Red Green Blue 

For example to create (Red Green Blue) you would need to create three seperate Materials and three seperate 
Material indexs. Each word would be assigned a Material index by selecting the characters for each word and 
clicking the "Assign" button. (Red Green Blue) is still one single Text object. 



Curve and Surface attributes 

Mode: Object Mode / Edit Mode (Text) 
Panel: Editing Context Curve and Surface 
Hotkey: F9 



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Special Characters Special Characters 

Description 

Text is very similar to 2D curves in that they have curve like properties. For example, you can change the 
Resolution from the Curve and Surface panel to have smooth or coarse text. Once the text is created you can 
extrude, bevel or even change the thickness. 



Options 

Because a Text object is similar to a curve it can be converted into a curve using Alt C. Once this is performed 
the Text becomes a curve and can be manipulated just like a curve. This allows complete control over the 
shape of the characters beyond what a Text object provides. 

The transform from Text to Curve is not reversible; consider saving prior to converting. Also, you can 
continue to convert the Curve into a Mesh for even further control. 



Examples 




Rough text 

In (Rough text) the Resolution has been set to the lowest setting to produce very blocky text. Almost as if the 
text was broken out of a rock mine. In addition, the text has been applied to a 2D Bezier circle curve. 

The path the text has been applied to is labeled "Path". To specify a Curve or Path enter the name of a 2D 
curve in the "TextOnCurve" field in the Font panel as shown in (TextOnCurve). In this example the "Path"'s 
name is "CurveCircle". 

ITefit On Curve: Curve Circle | [^ 



See Also 



• Modelling: Curves 

• Modelling: Surfaces . 



Special Characters 

Mode: Edit Mode (Text) 

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Unicode Characters 



Unicode Characters 



Menu: Text Special Characters 



Description 

There are a few special characters that are available using the Alt key or the "Text" menu on the 3D window 
header. These "Key" combinations are only available while in Edit mode. 



Options 



A summary of these characters follows; just remember you can access these characters from the Char panel as 
well: 



• Ah c: 
copyright 

• Alt f: Currency 
sign 

• Alt g: degrees 

• Ah 1: British 
Pound 



• Alt r: Registered 
trademark 

• Alt s: German S 

• Ah x: Multiply 
symbol 

• Alt y: Japanese Yen 



• Alt 1 : a small 1 

• Ah 2: a small 2 

• Ah 3: a small 3 

• Alt ?: Spanish question 
mark 



• Alt !: Spanish 
exclamation 
mark 

• Ah >: a 
double » 

• Ah <: a 
double « 



All the characters on your keyboard should work, including stressed vowels and so on. If you need special 
characters (such as accented letters, which are not there on a US keyboard) you can produce many of them 
using a combination of two other characters. To do so, press Alt Backspace within the desired combination, 
and then press the desired combination to produce the special character. Some examples are given below. 



• A, Ah 
Backspace, ~: a 

• A, Ah 
Backspace, ,: a 

• A, Ah 
Backspace, \ a 



• A, Alt 
Backspace, O: a 

• A, Alt 
Backspace, ": e 

• A, Alt 
Backspace, /: 



Unicode Characters 

Mode: Edit Mode (Text) 
Panel: Editing Context Char 
Hotkey: F9 



Description 

The font system understands both ASCII and UNICODE character sets with a panel dedicated to assisting in 
the selection of extended characters. 



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382 



Unicode Characters Technical Details 

Since Blender does not support Unicode text input via the keyboard, not all characters are easily accessable 
from the keyboard. For those difficult characters the Char panel is provided. This panel simply exposes the 
entire Unicode character set. The character set can be quite large so paging buttons are provided, "U" and "D". 

When you find the character you looking for just click on it in the grid. 

Technical Details 

For optimum resource usage only characters that are being used consume memory rather than the entire 
character set. 



Previous: Manual/Surfaces Skinning Contents Next: Manual/Meta Objects 



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Unicode Characters Meta Objects 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.40 

Meta Objects 

Mode: Object Mode or Edit Mode (Meta) 
Hotkey: Shift A 
Menu: Add Meta 



Meta Objects are implicit surfaces meaning that they are not explicitly defined by vertices (as meshes are) or 
control points (as surfaces are); they exist procedurally (i.e. computed dynamically). 

Another way of describing Meta Objects are as fluid Mercurial, or Clay-like forms that have a "rounded" 
shape. 

There are five predefined Meta Object configurations: 

Ball 

A point underlying structure. 
Tube 

A line segment underlying structure. 
Plane 

A planar underlying structure. 
Elipsoid 

A spherical underlying structure. 
Cube 

A volumetric cubic underlying structure. 



Each is a different mathematical definition and at any time you can switch between them using the MetaBall 
tools panel. Each one has an underlying mathematical structure that defines it. 

Typically Meta Objects are used for special effects or as a basis for modelling. For example, you could use a 
collection of Meta Objects to form the initial shape of your model and then convert it another object type for 
further modelling. 



Options 



Selection 




/^ ^TnfHie 


;nce 


f^] 




Mesh 











MetaBall example 

Each Meta Object always appears with two rings or circles; see (MetaBall example). 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 384 



Threshold (Influence) Threshold (Influence) 

Selection 

The outer ring (labelled "Selection" and coloured pink) is for selecting and exists because there are two types 
of elements that can be selected within a Meta Object. You can select the Meta Object itself, by clicking the 
ring, or select the Mesh by clicking the mesh. Without the selection ring you couldn't select just the Meta 
Object. 

S with the outer ring selected scales the Meta Object 



Stiffness 

The inner ring (labelled "Influence" and coloured green) defines the Meta Object's stiffness value - how 
much influence it has on other Meta Objects. When a Meta Object comes within "range" of another Meta 
Object the two Meta Objects will begin to interact with each other. They don't necessarily need to intersect 
and depending on the Threshold and Stiffness settings they most likely won't need too. 

S with the inner ring selected increases or decreases the Stiffness 



Technical Details 

A more formal definition of a meta object can be given as a directing structure which can be seen as the 
source of a static field. The field can be either positive or negative and hence the field generated by 
neighbouring directing structures can attract or repel. 

The implicit surface is defined as the surface where the 3D field generated by all the directing structures 
assume a given value. For example a Meta Ball, whose directing structure is a point, generates an isotropic 
field around it and the surfaces at constant field value are spheres centered at the directing point. 

Meta Objects are nothing more than mathematical formulas that perform logical operations on one another 
(AND, OR), and that can be added and subtracted from each other. This method is also called Constructive 
Solid Geometry (CSG). Because of its mathematical nature, CSG uses little memory, but requires lots of 
processing power to compute. 



Threshold (Influence) 

Mode: Object Mode or Edit Mode (Meta) 
Panel: Editing Context MetaBall 



Description 

Threshold defines how much a MetaObject's surface "Influences" other MetaObjects. It controls the. field level 
at which the surface is computed. The setting is global to a Group of MetaObjects. As the Threshold increases 
the influence that each MetaObject has on one another increases. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 385 



Wiresize 



Wiresize 



Options 

There are two types of influence: positive or negative. The type can be toggled on the MetaBall tools panel 
using the "Negative" button. You could think of positive as attraction and negative as repulsion of meshs. A 
negative MetaObject will push away or repel the meshes other types of MetaObjects. 



Examples 




Positive 

A Positive influence is defined as an attraction meaning the meshs will stretch towards each other as the rings 
of influence intersect. {Positive) shows two MetaBalls' ring of influence intersecting with apositive influence. 

Notice how the meshes have pulled towards one another. The area circled in white shows the green influence 
rings intersecting. 




Negative 

The opposite effect oi a positive influence would be a negative influence. (Negative) shows a MetaBall and 
MetaPlane where the MetaBall is negative and the MetaPlane is positive. Negative MetaObjects are not 
visible to indicate that they are configured as such. 

The white arrow indicates how the sphere is repelling or pushing away the plane's mesh. This causes the 
plane's mesh to cave in or collapse inward. If you move the plane away from the sphere the plane's mesh will 
restore itself. 



Wiresize 

Mode: Object Mode or Edit Mode (Meta) 
Panel: Editing Context MetaBall 

Description 

The Wiresize controls the resolution of the resultant mesh as generated by the MetaObject. 



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386 



stiffness 



Stiffness 



Options 

Wiresize 

The 3D View resolution of the generated mesh. The range is from "0.05" (finest) to "1.0" (coarsest). 
Rendersize 

The rendered resolution of the generated mesh. The range is from "0.05" (finest) to "1.0" (coarsest). 



Examples 

One way to see the underlying mathematical structure is to lower the Wiresize, increase the Threshold and set 
the Stiffness a fraction above the Threshold. 

(Underlying structure) is a (MetaCube) with the above mentioned configuration applied as follows: Wiresize 
of "0.410", Threshold of "5.0" and Stiffness a fraction above at "5.01". 




Underlying structure. 



MetaCube. 



You can clearly see the underlying Cube structure that gives the MetaCube its shape. 

Stiffness 

Mode: Edit Mode (Meta) 

Panel: Editing Context MetaBall Tools 

Hotkey: S 



Description 

Together with Threshold, Stiffness controls the influencing range. Stiffness directly controls the Green ring 
surrounding a MetaObject. The field is found on the MetaBall tools panel. 



Options 

The range is from "0.0" to "10.0". But to be visible the Stiffness must be slightly larger than the Threshold 
value. You can visually adjust the Stiffness ring by using the RMB 'J to select it and activating Scale mode 
with the S. 



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387 



Grouping 
Examples 



Grouping 




Stiffness 

In {Stiffness), the MetaBall labeled "A", has a smaller Stiffness value than the MetaBall, labeled "B". As you 
can see the Green ring radius is different between them. 



Grouping 



Mode: Object Mode or Edit Mode (Meta) 
Panel: Editing Context Link and Materials 
Hotkey: F9 



Description 

MetaObjects are grouped by the Family part of an Object name; the OB: field in most panels, NOT the MB: 
field. The Object name is broken into two parts, the left part before the period and the right part after the 
period. For example, the Family part of "MetaPlane.OOl" is "MetaPlane". 



Options 




MetaBall Base 

Groups of MetaObjects are controlled by a base MetaObject which is identified by an Object name without a 
"number" part. For example, if we have five MetaObjects called "MetaThing", "MetaThing.OOl", 
"MetaThing.002", "MetaThing.003", "MetaThing.004", the base MetaObject would be "MetaThing". 



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388 



Grouping Examples 

The base MetaObject determines the basis, the resolution, and the transformations. It also has the Material 
and texture area. The base MetaObject is the parent of the other MetaObjects in the group. 



Examples 

(MetaBall Base) shows the base MetaObject labeled "B". The other two MetaObjects are base children. 
Children's selection rings are always black while the Group's mesh is pink. Because the MetaObjects are 
grouped they form a unified mesh which can always be selected by selecting the mesh of any MetaObject in 
the group. For example, selecting the mesh of the lower sphere in {MetaBall Base) would result in the very 
same appearance that you see in (MetaBall Base); both the base and the children's mesh would be highlighted. 



Scahng the "base" 

The base MetaObject controls the polygonalization (mesh structure) for the group and as such controls the 
polygonalization for the children (non-base) MetaObjects. If we transform the base MetaObject the children's 
polygonalization changes. However, if we transform the children the polygonalization remains unchanged. 



Hints 

This doesn't mean the meshes don't deform towards or away from each other. It means the underlying mesh 
structure changes only when the base transforms. For example, if you Scale the base the children's mesh 
stmcture changes. In (Scaling the "base"), the base has been scaled down which has the affect of scaling the 
mesh structure of the children. As you can see the children's mesh resolution has increased while the base 
decreased. 

A group can only have one Material and Texture area. This normalises the coordinates of the vertices. 
Normally the texture area is identical to the bounding box of all vertices. The user can force a texture area 
with the T command in Object mode. 



Previous: Manual/Text Contents Next: Manual/Editing Meta Objects 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 389 



Grouping 



Examples 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.42 





^% 










] 




W1 resize: 0.400 




H Stiffrtett: 2. ODD 




teiwsrslze: 0.200 


ax: l.DD 




Thre&liokl: 0.600 


dy: 1.00 








dz: l.DO 








fiviU'/i 




Ball 


H,3l( R&i 


lube Plane IJIIigiN Cube 


hteuer 


1 Megatlve | IHIdf 













Metaballs use a different modelling workflow from more traditional techniques. You guide their shape rather 
then editing their vertices. Use the Editing buttons to guide their shape. 

The Metaball panel controls how they look in your 3D view, and how smooth they are when rendered. Choose 
a smaller Rendersize to make them smoother when rendering. For real-time updates while you are working 
with them inside Blender, choose a larger Wiresize. The Threshold sets how close they can get to each other 
before merging. The Update: selections choose your display update frequency. Use Fast to save CPU time and 
increase Blender's responsiveness to you. Use Never if you really want to get confused between your display 
and what is rendered. 

The Metaball tools panel controls their shape. Select Ball for a sphere. Tube, Plane, etc. Each choice is like 
the mesh equivalent with lots of subsurfacing. 



Previous: Manual/Meta Objects 



Contents 



Next: Manual/DupliVerts 



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390 



DupliVerts 



DupliVerts 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

DupliVerts 

Mode: Object mode 

Panel: Anim Settings af DupliVerts 

Hotkey: F7 



DupliVerts are not a rock band nor a dutch word for something illegal (well maybe it is) but is a contraction 
for Dupli cation at Vert ices, meaning the duplication of a base Object at the location of the Vertices of a Mesh 
(or even a Particle system). In other words, when using DupliVerts on a mesh, an instance of the base object is 
placed on every vertex of the mesh. There are actually two approaches to modelling using DupliVerts. They 
can be used as an arranging tool, allowing us to model geometrical arrangements of objects (e.g. the columns 
of a Greek temple, the trees in a garden, an army of robot soldiers, the desks in a classroom). The object can 
be of any object type which Blender supports. The second approach is to use them to model an Object starting 
from a single part of it (i.e.: the spikes in a club, the thorns of a sea-urchin, the tiles in a wall, the petals in a 
flower). 



DupliVerts as an Arranging Tool 




A simple scene to play with. 

All you need is a base object (e.g. the tree or the column) and a pattern mesh with it's vertices following the 
pattern you have in mind. In this section, we will use a simple scene for the following part. It consists of a 
camera, the lamps, a plane (for the floor) and a strange man I modelled after Magritte's famous character (A 
simple scene to play with.). If you don't like surreaUsm you will find this part extremely boring. 



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391 



DupliVerts 



DupliVerts 




A circle for a parent mesh 

Anyway, the man will be my base Object. It is a good idea that he will be at the center of the co-ordinate 
system, and with all rotations cleared. Move the cursor to the base object's center, and from Top View add a 
mesh (the example uses a circle as a pattern, with 12 vertices or so (A circle for a parent mesh). The pattern 
object can be a two-dimensional primitive (plane or circle), or even a three-dimensional primitive mesh 
(cube, tube, sphere) or a curve (two dimensional, or a three-dimensional path), or even your own custom 
mesh, so long as it has vertices (you cannot use a camera, for example, but you can use a large landscape 
mesh if you want to plant trees - trees being your base object). 




The man is parented to the circle. 

Out of Edit Mode, select the base Object and add the circle to the selection (order is very important here). 
Parent the base object to the circle by pressing Ctrl P. Now, the circle is the parent of the character {The man 
is parented to the circle.). 



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392 



DupliVerts 



DupliVerts 




Draw Key] I Draw Key S^PPowertrack || SlowPar] 
DupliFrames ]B8WffiBBKW | Rot || No Speed j 



DupSta: 1 



DupOn: 1 



< DupEnd 100 > 1 ■ DupOffO »■ 






■wiawaBBiaKB 


Offs Particle 


0.0000 


<TimeOffset: 0.0t> 


Automatic Time 


PrSpeed 



The Animation Buttons 

Now select only the circle, switch the Buttons Window to the Object Context (via ^ or F7) and select the 
DupliVerts Button in the Anim Settings Panel (The Animation Buttons). 




In every vertex of the circle a man is placed. 

Wow, isn't it great? Don't worry about the object at the center (In every vertex of the circle a man is placed.). 
It is still shown in the 3D-views, but it will not be rendered. You can now select the base object, change 
(scale, rotate. Edit Mode) (and also Object Mode, however scaling in Object Mode could bring up some 
problems when applying Rotation to DupliVerts as we will see soon) it and all DupliVerted objects will 
reflect the changes. But the more interesting thing to note is that you can also edit the parent circle. 

Note 

The base Object is not rendered if DupliVerted on a Mesh but it is rendered if DupliVerted on a Particle 
System! This doesn't appear to be true on Blender 2.45 and later. 



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393 



DupliVerts 



DupliVerts 




Changing the size of the circle in Edit Mode. 

Select the circle and scale it. You can see that the mysterious men are uniformly scaled with it. Now enter the 
Edit Mode (Tab) for the circle, select all vertices A and scale it up about three times. Leave Edit Mode and the 
DupliVerted objects will update (Changing the size of the circle in Edit Mode.). This time they will still have 
their original size but the distance between them will have changed. Not only can we scale in Edit Mode, but 
we can also delete or add vertices to change the arrangement of men. 

Select all vertices in Edit Mode and duplicate them (Shift D). Now scale the new vertices outwards to get a 
second circle around the original. Leave Edit Mode, and a second circle of men will appear (A second row of 
Magritte's men.). 




A second row of Magritte's men. 



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394 



DupliVerts 



DupliVerts 




Show object's axis to get what you want. 



Until now all Magritte's men were facing the camera, ignoring each other. We can get more interesting results 
using the Rot Button next to the DupliVerts button in the Anim Settings Panel. With this Toggle-Button 
active, we can rotate the DupliVerted objects according to the normals of the parent Object. More precisely, 
the DupliVerted Objects axis are aligned with the normal at the vertex location. Which axis is aligned (X, Y 
or Z) with the parent mesh normal depends on what is indicated in the TrackX, Y, Z buttons and the UpX, Y, 
Z buttons top in the Anim Settings Panel. Trying this with our surrealist buddies, will lead to weird results 
depending on these settings. 

The best way to figure out what will happen is first of all aligning the "base" and "parent" objects' axis with 
the World axis. This is done selecting both objects and pressing Ctrl A, and click the Apply Size/Rot? menu. 

Then make the axis of the base object and the axis and normals in the parent object visible (Show object's axis 
to get what you want. - in this case, being a circle with no faces, a face must be defined first for the normal to 
be visible - actually to exist at all). Now select the base object (our Magritte's man) and play a little with the 
Tracking buttons. Note the different alignment of the axis with the different combinations of UpX, Y, Z and 
TrackX, Y, Z (Negative YAxis is aligned to vertex normal (pointing to the circle's center), Positive Y axis is 
aligned to normal, Positive X axis is aligned to normal. Positive Z axis is aligned to normal (weird, huh?)). 




Negative Y Axis is aligned to vertex normal (pointing to the circle's center) 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



395 



DupliVerts 



DupliVerts 




Positive Y axis is aligned to normal 




Positive X axis is aligned to normal 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



396 



DupliVerts 



DupliVerts to Model a Single Object 




Positive Z axis is aligned to normal (weird, huh?) 



DupliVerts to Model a Single Object 

Very interesting models can be made using DupliVerts and a standard primitive. Starting from a cube in Front 
View, and extruding a couple of times I have modelled something which looks like a tentacle when SubSurfs 
are activated {Strange tentacle and SubSurfed version.). Then I added an Icosphere with 2 subdivisions. 




Local axis ^i 



nd glo^ar axis 



ItiJ 


I 1 




~ "PTTttTTTi y 




r 

CDF 








olipo 





Strange tentacle and SubSurfed version. Local reference of the tentacle. 



I had to take special care to be sure that the tentacle was located at the sphere center, and that both the tentacle 
axis and the sphere axis were aligned with the world axis as above (Local reference of the tentacle.). 

Now, I simply make the icosphere the parent of the tentacle. Select the icosphere alone and made it DupliVert 
in the Anim Settings Panel (DupliVerts not rotated.). 

Press the Rot button to rotate the tentacles (DupliVerts rotated.). 



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397 



DupliVerts 



DupliVerts to Model a Single Object 




DupliVerts not rotated. 



DupliVerts rotated. 



Once again to make the tentacle point outwards we have to take a closer look to it's axis. When applying Rot, 
Blender will try to align one of the tentacle's axis with the normal vector at the parent mesh vertex. We didn't 
care about the Parent circle for Magritte's men, but here we should care about the Sphere, and you will soon 
notice that it is not rendered. You probably would like to add an extra renderable sphere to complete the 
model. You can experiment in Edit Mode with the tentacle, moving it's vertices off the center of the sphere, 
but the object's center should always be at the sphere's center in order to get a symmetrical figure. However 
take care not to scale up or down in one axis in Object Mode since it would lead to unpredictable results in the 
DupliVerted objects when applying the Rot button. 




Our model complete. 

Once you're done with the model and you are happy with the results, you can select the tentacle and press 
Shift Ctrl A and click on the Make duplis real ? menu to turn your virtual copies into real meshes (Our model 
complete.). 



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398 



See also See also 

See also 

Other duplication methods are listed here: Manual/Duplication 



Previous: Manual/Editing Meta Objects Contents Next: Manual/DupliFrames 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 399 



DupliFrames DupliFrames 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.31 



DupliFrames 



You can consider DupliFrames in two different ways: an arranging or a modelling tool. In a way, 
DupliFrames are quite similar to DupliVerts. The only difference is that with DupliFrames we arrange our 
objects by making them follow a curve rather than using the vertex of a mesh. DupliFrames stands for 
DUPLIcation at FRAMES and is a very useful modelling technique for objects which are repeated along a 
path, such as the wooden sleepers in a railroad, the boards in a fence or the links in a chain, but also for 
modelling complex curve objects like corkscrews, seashells and spirals. 



Modelling using DupliFrames 

We are going to model a chain with it's links using DupliFrames. First things come first. To explain the use of 
DupliFrames as a modelling technique, we will start by modelling a single hnk. 

To do this, add in front view a Curve Circle (Bezier or NURBS, whatever). 

In Edit Mode, subdivide it once and move the vertices a little to fit the link's outline (Link's outline). 




Link's outline 

Leave Edit Mode and add a Surface Circle object (Link's cross section). 

NURBS-surfaces are ideal for this purpose, because we can change the resolution easily after creation, and if 
we need to, we can convert them to a mesh object. It is very important that you do not confuse Curve Circle 
and Surface Circle. The first one will act as the shape of the link but it will not let us do the skinning step later 
on. The second one will act as a cross section of our skinning. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 400 



DupliFrames 



DupliFrames 



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Link's cross section 

Now parent the circle surface to the circle curve (the link's outline) as a Normal parent (not a Curve Follow 
constraint). 

Select the curve and in the Object Context and Anim Settings Panel press CurvePath and CurveFollow 

(Curve's settings: Curve Path and Curve Follow.). 



and Surface 



UV Oreo 



Centre 



Centre New 



Centre Cursor 



PathLen: 35 



PrintLen | 0.0000 



DefResolU: 6 ■ 


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3D 




1 ■ Width: 1.000 


1 Extl: 0.000 


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\* BevResol: 


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Curve's settings: Curve Path and Curve Follow. 

It's probable that the circle surface will appear dislocated. If this is the case; select it and press ALT-0 to 
clear the origin {Clearing origin.). 



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29/01/2009 13.49.52 



401 



DupliFrames 



DupliFrames 



Clearing origin. 

If you hit ALT-A the circle will follow the curve. 

Now you probably will have to adjust the TrackX, Y, Z and UpX, Y, Z animation buttons, to make the circle 
go perpendicular to the curve path (Tracking the right axis.). 




Tracking the right axis. 

Now select the Surface Circle and go to Anim Settings Panel and press DupliFrames. A number of instances 
of the circular cross section will appear along the curve path (DupliFrames!). 




DupliFrames ! 

You can adjust the number of circles you want to have with the DupSta, DupEnd, DupOn and DupOff 
buttons. These buttons control the Start and End of the duplication, the number of duplicates each time and 
also the Offset between duplications. If you want the link to be opened, you can try a different setting for 
DupEnd (Values for DupliFrames. Note "DupEnd: 35" will end link before curve's end.). 



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402 



DupliFrames 



DupliFrames 





▼ Anim settings 




^^ 






fTrackXlvHI -II- II -1 1 UpX || Yii 








■"T 




Draw Keyll Draw Key S|| Powertrack|| SlowP: 


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^^j^^ 






■fflianaEniEal DupliVerts || Rot]| 


1 




DupSta: 1 || DupOn: 1 












DupEnd 35 || DupOff 














Offs Ob(Offs Par 


1 Offs Particle 


n nnnn 












'TimeOffset: 0.00 


Automatic Time 


PrSpeed 











Values for DupliFrames. Note "DupEnd: 35" will end link before curve's end. 

To turn the structure into a real NURBS-object, select the Surface Circle and press CTRL-SHIFT-A. 

A pop-up menu will appear prompting OK? Make Dupli's Real {Making Dupli's Real.). 




Making Dupli's Real. 

Do not deselect anything. We now have a collection of NURBS forming the outline of our object, but so far 
they are not skinned, so we cannot see them in a shaded preview or in a rendering. 

To achieve this, we need to join all the rings to one object. Without deselecting any rings, press CTRL-J and 
confirm the pop-up menu request. 

Now, enter Edit Mode for the newly created object and press A to select all vertices {Skinning the link.). 

Now we are ready to skin our object. 

Press F and Blender will automatically generate the solid object. This operation is called Skinning and is fully 
described in Surface Curves Skinning . 



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403 



DupliFrames 



Arranging objects with DupliFrames 




Skinning the link. 

When you leave Edit Mode, you can now see the object in a shaded view. In some versons of Blender it may 
appear very dark. To correct this, enter Edit Mode and select all vertices, then press W. Choose Switch 
Direction from the menu and leave Edit Mode. The object will now be drawn correctly {Skinned link.). 

The object we have created is a NURBS object. This means that you can still edit it. Even more interestingly, 
you can also control the resolution of the NURBS object via the Edit Buttons. 

Here you can set the resolution of the object using ResolU and ResolV, so you can adjust it for working with 
the object in a low resolution, and then set it to a high resolution for your final render. NURBS objects are 
also very small in file size for saved scenes. Compare the size of a NURBS scene with the same scene in 
which all NURBS are converted (ALT-C) to meshes. 

Finally you can delete the curve we used to give the shape of the link, since we no longer need it. 




Skinned link. 



Arranging objects with DupliFrames 

Now we will continue modelling the chain itself. For this, just add a Curve Path (we could use a different 
curve but this one gives better results). In Edit Mode, move its vertices until get the desired shape of the chain 
(Using a curve path to model the chain.). If not using a Curve Path, you should check the button 3D in the 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



404 



DupliFrames 



Arranging objects with DupliFrames 



Edit Buttons to let the chain be real 3D. 




Using a curve path to model the chain. 

Select the object "Link" we modelled in the previous step and parent it to the chain curve, again as a normal 
parent. Since we are using a Curve Path the option CurvePath in the AnimButtons will be automatically 
activated, however the CurveFollow option will not, so you will have to activate it (Curve settings.). 




UV Oreo 



Centre 



Centre New 



Centre Cursor 



PathLen: 35 



CurvePath CurveFoll 



PrintLen O.OOOD 



- DefResolU: 6 


Iset 




■^samsi!!! 


3D 




1 Width: 1.000 


► 


1 Extl: 0.000 


h 


1 Ext£: 0.000 


► 


\< BevResol: 


► 


[BevOb: 





Curve settings. 

If the link is dislocated, select it and press ALT-0 to clear the origin. Until now we have done little more than 
animate the link along the curve. This can be verified by playing the animation with ALT- A. Now, with the 
link selected once again go to the Object Context and Anim settings Panel. Here, activate the option 
DupliFrames as before. Play with the DupSta:, DupEnd: and DupOf: NumButtons. Normally we are going to 
use DupOf : but for a chain, if using DupOf : the links are too close from each other you should change the 
value PathLen for the path curve to a lesser value, in the Editing Context and Curve and Surface Panel and 
then correspondingly change the DupEnd: value for the link to that number (Adjusting the DupliFrames.). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



405 



DupliFrames 



Arranging objects with DupliFrames 




Draw Keyll Draw Kev~Sl| Powertrack|rsiowPa| 



DupliVerts || Rot] 



|,< DupSta: 1 || DupOn: 1 


M 






!•« DupEnd 35 ■ || • DupOff 






0.0000 




■MmaMaKfiHiMil Offs Particle 




«TimeOffset: 0.00 


Automatic Time 


PrSpeed 









Adjusting the DupliFrames. 

We need it so that the link rotates along the curve animation, so we have each link rotated 90 degrees with 
respect to the preceding one in the chain. For this, select the link and press Axis in the Edit Buttons to reveal 
the object's axis. Insert a rotation keyframe in the axis which was parallel to the curve. Move 3 or 4 frames 
ahead and rotate along that axis pressing R followed by X-X (X twice), Y-Y, or Z-Z to rotate it in the local 
X, Y or Z axis {Rotating the link.). 



50= 




1 


LocX 

LocY 

LocZ , 

dLocX 

dLocY 

dLocZ 

;■ 

dRotX 
dRotY 
dRotZ 




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Rotating the link. 

Open an IPO window to edit the rotation of the link along the path. Press the Extrapolation Mode so the link 
will continually rotate until the end of the path. You can edit the IPO rotation curve to make the link rotate 
exactly 90 degrees every one, two or three links (each link is a frame). Use N to locate a node exactly at 
X=2.0 and Y=9.0, which correspond to 90 degrees in 1 frame (from frame 1 to 2). Now we got a nice chain 

(Dupliframed chain.)\ 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



406 



DupliFrames 



More Animation and IVIodelling 




Dupliframed chain. 

More Animation and l\/lodelling 

You are not limited to use Curve Paths to model your stuff. These were used just for our own convenience, 
however in some cases there are no need of them. 

In Front View add a surface circle (you should know why by now A Surface Circle.). 

Subdivide once, to make it look more like a square. 

Move and scale some vertices a little to give it a trapezoid shape (Trapezoidal cross-section.). 



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Trapezoidal cross-section. 

Then rotate all vertices a few degrees. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



407 



DupliFrames 



More Animation and IVIodelling 



Grab all vertices and displace them some units right or left in X (but at the same Z location). You can use 
CTRL to achieve this precisely. 

Leave Edit Mode (Trapezoidal cross section, rotated and translated.). 




Trapezoidal cross section, rotated and translated. 

From now on, the only thing we are going to do is editing IPO animation curves. So you can call this 
"Modelling with Animation" if you like. We will not enter Edit Mode for the surface any more. 

Switch to Top View. 

Insert a KeyFrame for rotation at frame 1, go ahead 10 frames and rotate the surface 90 degrees over its new 
origin. 

Insert one more KeyFrame. 

Open an IPO window, and set the rotation IPO to Extrapolation Mode {Rotation IPO for the cross section.). 























LocX 1 

LocV 

LocZ 

dLoc> 

dLoc^ 

dLoci 

J RotX 

J RotY 

r 

dRot> 
dRot\ 
dRot2 
SizeX 
SizeV 
SizeZ 
dSize 




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100= 






































. 


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10 -20 20 40 



Rotation IPO for the cross section. 

Go back to frame 1 and insert a keyframe for Location. 

Switch to Front View. 

Go to frame 1 1 (just press UP ARROW) and move the surface in Z a few grid units. 

Insert a new keyframe for Location. 

In the IPO window set the LocZ to Extrapolation Mode {Translation IPO for the cross section.). 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



408 



DupliFrames 



More Animation and IVIodelling 




Translation IPO for the cross section. 

Now, of course, go to the Animation buttons and press DupliFrames. You can see how our surface is 
ascending in a spiral through the 3D space forming something like a spring. This is nice, however we want 
more. Deactivate DupliFrames to continue. 

In frame 1 scale the surface to nearly zero and insert a keyframe for Size. 

Go ahead to frame 41, and clear the size with ALT-S. 

Insert a new keyframe for size. 

This IPO will not be in extrapolation mode since we don't want it scaled up at infinitum (Size IPO for the 
cross section.)! 





™ 




™ 














1 


J LocZ 
dLocX 
dLocY 
dLocZ 

J RotX : 

J RotY 

J RotZ [ 
dRotX ■ 
dRotV 


5 








































D 








































5 








































Q 










































ms 10 20 30 1 



Size IPO for the cross section. 

If you now activate DupliFrames you will see a beautiful outline of a corkscrew (Using a curve path to model 
the chain.). 

Once again the last steps are: 

• Make Duplis Real 

• Joining the surfaces 

• Select all vertices and skinning 

• Switch direction of normal if needed 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



409 



DupliFrames 



More Animation and IVIodelling 



Leave Edit Mode {Using a curve path to model the chain.). 




Using a curve path to model the chain. 




Using a curve path to model the chain. 

You can see this was a rather simple example. With more IPO curve editing you can achieve very interesting 
and complex models. Just use your imagination. 



Previous. 


Manual/PartXIII/DupliVerts 


Contents 




Next: Manual/PartXIV 


Use this navigator bar to follow the flow of the 


main page index for the Blender user manual: 


Previous. 


Manual/DupliVerts 


Contents 


Next: 


Manual/Mode llina Scripts 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



410 



Poly Reducer Poly Reducer 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4 

Main Section for Scripts 

There are two main sets of documentation of the Blender scripts: 

• Scripts/Manual : Contains Tutorials on using Python. Links to script information, Blender Python API 
docs. 

• Scripts/Catalog : a large listing of scripts, grouped by function, linking to individual script pages. 

Search the Catalog to find and download the script you need. 

• Some Modeling Script Samples 

Poly Reducer 

Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) 

Menu: Mesh Scripts Poly Reducer 



Description 

This tool can be used instead of Blenders decimator modifier as a way to remove polygons from a mesh while 
keeping the original shape as much as possible. 

Reasons you may want to use a polygon reducer are: 

• To make 3D Scanned data usable when rendering and editing. 

• Generate Level Of Detail models (LOD's), for games or simulation models. 

• To speed up render times. 



Options 

Poly Reduce is accessed from Edit Mode and will operate on the entire mesh. 
On activation a popup will be appear with the following options. 

Poly Reduce 

Scale the meshes poly count by this value. 
Boundary Weight 

Weight boundary verts by this scale. Zero disables boundary weighting. A boundary vert is a vert that 

is not completely surrounded by faces. Some meshes have no boundary verts, eg. a cube has no 

boundary verts where a plane has all boundary verts. 
Area Weight 

Collapse edges affecting lower area faces first. Zero disables area weighting. 
Triangulate 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 411 



Poly Reducer 



Hints 



Convert quads to tris before reduction, for more choices of edges to collapse. 

The advantage of triangulating is you have a larger set of edges to choose from when collapsing giving a 
higher quality result. 

UV Coords 

Interpolate UV Coords (if existing) 
Vert Colors 

Interpolate Vertex Colors (if existing) 
Vert Weights 

Interpolate Vertex Weights, (if existing) 



Hints 

Poly reducer has some advantages and disadvantages compared to Blenders decimator modifier, here are 
some pros and cons. 

Pros 

• Higher quality resulting mesh. 

• Can operate on any mesh, will not throw errors if the mesh has odd face/edge/vert topology. 

• Options to control where polygons are removed. 

• Keeps materials assigned to faces. 

• Maintains UV Texture coordinates. Vertex colors, and Vertex Group Weights (used for bone weight 
painting) - This makes it very useful for game/realtime models. 

Cons 



• Fairly Slow 

• Uses a lot of memory 



Examples 




34824 Ths 




4352 Tris 




544 Tris 



67 Tris 




famous cow. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



412 



Poly Reducer 



Hints 



3352 triangles 


^H 1681 triangles , 


§ 


/i 


1 /T 


'*■ 


M 


\\ i 


IteA-^^H 


^M 


i X. B 


H X 


r-7 V 


1 


839 triangles 


\ 

jjffi 336 triangles , 


1 


m 


N f 




A 


i m 




1 


^ X 


I 


r 



Human with UV textures and bone weights from http://www.x-trusion.com 




Heavily reduced workman http://www.x-trusion.com 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



413 



Auto Image Layout 



Auto Image Layout 




Example of an 80% Reduction using a weight map for influencing the result- Original, Weight Map, Result 
of or an 



Auto Image Layout 

Mode: All Modes (Mesh) 

Menu: UV/Image Editor UVs Auto Image Layout 



Description 

This script makes a new image from the used areas of all the images mapped to the selected mesh objects. 

Image are packed into 1 new image that is assigned to the original faces. 

This is useful for game models where 1 image is faster than many, and saves the labour of manual texture 
layout in an image editor. 



Options 

This script is accessed from UV/Face mode and packs images from the active mesh. 
On activation a popup will be appear with the following options. 

image path 

no ext 

A new PNG image file will be created at this path, use // as a prefix for the current blend file location. 

otherwise you may specify the full path. Do not add in a file extension. 
Pixel Size 

The size of the image, this value is used for width and height to make a square image. 
Pixel Margin 

When cropping the image to the bounds of the used areas add this pixel margin, this stops lower 

resolution textures (mipmaps) from bleeding the edge colour into the faces that use this texture. 
Keep Image Aspect 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



414 



Auto Image Layout 



Examples 



If this is turned off, the tiles will stretch to the bounds of the image, making the images look stretched 
in an image viewer, however it will give better results when viewed in 3d because there is more pixel 
information in the image. 
Texture Source, All Sel Objects 

When enabled all selected objects will have their textures packed into the texture. 



Examples 

Here is an test case where I took 5 unedited photos, mapped them to a low poly mesh, and pack them into 1 
texture. 




Projection mapped uv mesh 



L^, 


Si 


^ 


lifid 





Finished Details with roof and side 
walls 



Texture view 



Back wall with generic 
texture 



Model in details 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



415 



Bone Weight Copy 



Bone Weight Copy 




All images used for this mesh 




Result of running the Auto Texture Layout Script 



Weight Painting 
Bone Weigiit Copy 

Mode: Object Mode (Mesh) 

Menu: Object Scripts Bone Weight Copy 



Description 

This copies weights from one mesh to another based on vertex locations. It can also be used to update a mesh 
that's already weighted, by selecting the verts on the target mesh. Then using the "Copy To Selected" option. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



416 



Vertex Colour Gradient Vertex Colour Gradient 

Mirror Vertex Locations & Weight 

Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) 

Menu: Mesh Scripts Mirror Vertex Locations & Weight 



Description 

This script is used to mirror vertex locations and weights. It is useful if you have a model that was made 
symmetrical but has verts that have moved from their mirrored locations slightly, causing Blender's X-Mirror 
options not to work. 

Weights can be mirrored too, this is useful if you want to model 1 side of a mesh, copy the mesh and flip it. 
You can then use this script to mirror to the copy, even creating new flipped vertex groups, renaming group 
name left to right or .L to .R 

Vertex positions are mirrored by doing a locational lookup, finding matching verts on both sides of a mesh 
and moving to the left/right or mid location. 

The vertex weights work differently, they are mirrored by location also, but they mirror in pairs, rather it 
works by finding the closest vertex on the flip side and using its weight. 

When a location mirror is finished, verts that have not been mirrored will remain selected. A good way to 
check both sides are mirrored is to select the mirrored parts, run this script with default options and then see of 
there are any selected verts. 

For details on each option read the tooltips. 



Weight Paint Gradient 

Mode: Weight Paint (Mesh) 
Menu: Paint Weight Gradient 



Description 

Mix weight paint and face select mode so as to select the faces to gradient. Then Run "Gradient" from the 
weight paint menu, and click on the 2 locations to blend between. The existing weight under the mouse is 
used for to/from weights. 



Vertex Colour Gradient 

Mode: Vertex Paint (Mesh) 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 417 



Self Shadow 



Self Shadow 



Menu: Paint VCol Gradient 



Description 

see Weight Paint Gradient 

Examples 




Example of gradient usage 

Self Shadow 

Mode: Vertex Paint (Mesh) 

Menu: Paint Self Shadow VCols (AO) 



Description 

Uses the mesh geometry to shade the mesh, similar to Ambient Occlusion. 

Examples 







Post AO Blur 


OK 


Iterations: 3 ► 


Blur Radius: 0.20 


•< Min EdgeLen: 0.010 


L s. '\ ^^ WM 


Angie Ciipping 


■l ^ ^^^^ ^^^^^ ' '^^^^ 


< HIghilght Angie: 20 " 


< Shadow Angle: 70 ► 


Shadow Oniy 


Sei Faces Ohiy 







29/01/2009 13.49.52 



418 



Self Shadow Self Shadow 

Elephant Shaded 



Previous: Manual/DupliFrames Contents Next: Manual/Modifiers & Deformation 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 419 



Self Shadow Interface 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

Modifiers are automatic operations that affect an object in a non-destructive way. With modifiers, you can 
perform many effects automatically that would be otherwise tedious to do manually (such as subdivision 
surfaces) and without affecting the base topology of your object. Modifiers work by changing how an object is 
displayed and rendered, but not the actual object geometry. You can Apply a modifier if you wish to make it's 
changes permanent. 

There are two types of modifiers: 

• Deform modifiers 

Deform modifiers only change the shape of an object, and are available for Mesh, Text, 
Curve, Surface and Lattice objects. 

• Constructive modifiers 

Constructive modifiers are only available for Mesh objects, and typically change mesh 
topology in some way (e.g. the subsurf modifier which performs Catmull-Clarke 
subdivision). 



Interface 

The interface that is used for modifiers and constraints is described here: 

• Modifier Stack 

Modifiers 

Mode: Any Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 (Panel) 

Modifiers are added from the Modifiers tab in the Edit Buttons (F9). The Modifiers tab appears when a Mesh, 
Curve, Surface, Text, or Lattice Object is added or selected. 

• Armature - Use bones to deform and animate your mesh. 

• Array - Create an array out of your basic mesh and similar (repeating) shapes. 

• Bevel - Create a bevel on a selected mesh/object. 

• Booleans - Combine/subtract/intersect your mesh with another one. 

• Build - Assemble your mesh step by step when animating. 

• Cast - Shift the shape of a mesh, surface or lattice to an sphere, cylinder or cuboid. 

• Cloth - Simulate the properties of a piece of cloth. It is inserted in the modifier stack when you 
designate a mesh as Cloth. 

• Curve - Bend your mesh using a curve as guide. 

• Decimate - Reduce the polygon count of your mesh. 

• Displace - Use textures or objects to displace your mesh. 

• EdgeSplit - Add sharp edges to your mesh. 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 420 



Self Shadow Interface 

• Explode - Splits apart a mesh when, used with particles. 

• Hooks - Add a hook to your vertice(s) to manipulate them from the outside. 

• Lattice - Use a Lattice object to deform your mesh. 

• Mirror - Mirror an object about one of its own axis, so that the resultant mesh is symmetrical, and 
you only have to model/edit half or a fourth of it. 

• Particle Instance - Make an object act similar to a particle but using the mesh shape instead. 

• Smooth - Smooth a mesh by flattening the angles between its faces. 

• SubSurf - Smooth the surface by creating interpolated geometry. 

• UVProject - Project UV coordinates on your mesh. 

• Wave - Deform your (dense) mesh to form an (animated) wave. 



Previous: Manual/Modelling Scripts Contents Next: Manual/Modifier Stack 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 421 



Modifier 



IVIodifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



Modifier 

A Modifier is defined as the application of a "process or algorithm" upon Objects. They can be applied 
interactively and non-destmctively in just about any order the users chooses. This kind of functionality is 
often referred to as a "modifier stack" and is found in several other 3D applications. 

Modifiers are added from the Modifiers tab in the edit buttons (F9). The Modifiers tab appears when a Mesh, 
Curve, Surface, Text, or Lattice Object is added or selected. 

Some "tools", for example the "Decimator", have been migrated from its previous location and changed into a 
modifier. 

In a modifier stack the order in which modifiers are applied has an effect on the result. Fortunately modifiers 
can be rearranged easily by clicking the convenient up and down arrow icons. For example, {Stack ordering) 
shows SubSurf and Mirror Modifiers that have switched places. 




Modifiers 



Add Modifier 



v |Sub3urf lyl-f-lE^ S ©Q X 

Copy , 



Catmull- Clark 




Levels: 1 



Render Levels: 2 



OptlrriBl Draw 



i 



Merge Limit: 0.3120 
_Y J Z J_ _ Do Clipping 



^Ply 



Copy 



Subsurf 



SHI O 0© X 



1 Mirror |a|+[t^ ® 00 X 


|« Merge Limit: 0.31 20 t 




Apply 


ra V 1 Z 1 Do Clipping 


Copy 



Catmull- Clark 



Levels: 1 



Render Levels: 2 



Optimal Draw 



^piy 



Copy 



Mirror Last 



SubSurf Last 




Stack ordering 

The left side of the Yellow line has the Mirror Modifier as the last item on the stack. In the lower half you can 
see two spheres. One is a "mirror" of the other. The original sphere is on the right and the "mirror" on the left. 
The Mirror Modifier's Merge Limit: has been set to a value of "0.312" to cause the vertices to weld together 
from a greater distance. The area marked by a white circle is a suggested area to concentrate on when the 
stack order is changed later. 

The right side of the Yellow line has the SubSurf Modifier "Switched/Rearranged" to the bottom of the stack 
(i.e. it has switched places with the Mirror Modifier). Now take a look at the white circle area. You can see 
that the results looks different than previously. This means that the stack order is very important in defining 
the end results. In this case the SubSurf Modifier is being applied last. 



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422 



Interface Interface 

Interface 

Each Modifier has been brought in fi^om a different part of Blender, so each has its own unique settings and 
special considerations. However, each Modifier's interface has the same basic components, see (Panel Layout 
(Subsurf as an example)). 



■ 


2 3 4 5 

1 1 1 


E 


7 B 9 

1 1 1 




V 


Subsurf fni- -TOl 


@ ©© X-13 














Catmull- Clark ; 




Apply 


— ID 


Levels: 1 


Copy 


— 11 


H Render Levels: 2 ► 








^1 OptimaJ Draw 
Subsurf UV 





Panel Layout (Subsurf as an example) 



1 ( V ) - Collapses modifier to show only the header. 

2 - A name for this modifier; the default is the name of the modifier itself. It is unique amongst other 
m odifi ers of the same type. 

3 (^3) - Shows modifier effect in the rendering view. 

4 (^|) - Shows modifier effect in the 3D view. 

5 ( Jl ) - Shows modifier effect in Edit mode. This button may not be available depending on the type 

of modifier. 

6 ((S),r3,(S)) - Applies modifier to editing cage in Edit mode. The icon can be Disabled, 

Deactivated and Activated, respectively. This icon is Cage Mode. 

7 ((2)) ~ Moves modifier up in the stack. 

8 ((v)) - Moves modifier down in the stack. 

9 ( X ) ~ Removes the modifier from the stack. 

10 (Apply) - Makes the modifier real. 

1 1 (Copy) - Creates a copy of the modifier at the base of the stack. 

12 (Sub-panel) - Sub panel for individual modifiers. 

13 - Header area for the main modifier controls. 

Every modifier features a Collapse Arrow (1) and Name Box (2). The Collapse Arrow hides the modifier's 
Sub-panel (12) so that multiple modifiers can be displayed without the need for excessive scrolling in the 
buttons window. When collapsed, only the modifier Header (13) is displayed. The Name Box can be used to 
give your modifiers titles, which can make recognizing their functions easier. This comes in handy in large 
scenes with complex modifier setups that feature multiple modifier types. 

They are followed by three buttons which control the visibility of the effect in three separate contexts: 
Rendering (3), Object Mode (4), and Edit Mode (5). Toggling each button determines whether the modifier's 
result displays in each mode. 

The Cage Mode (6) button is used to apply the modifier to the editing cage, which generates a more accurate 
display of the underlying geometry once a modifier has been applied. This displays vert/edge/face positions in 
their "modified" locations instead of their original locations. It should be noted, however, that transformation 
operations still act on the original locations of the cage vertices and not on the displayed locations. This button 
has three states: Disable, Activated and Deactivated. If it is Disabled then the modifier is not permitting the 
edit cage to changed. 

The two Arrow buttons (7 and 8) control the order in which modifiers exist in the stack. Modifiers are 
evaluated top to bottom in the panel. The higher in the panel, the earlier it is evaluated. This can be very 
important depending on the application. 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 423 



stack 



Stack 



A great example of a situation in which positioning in the stack is important is the use of the subsurf modifier 
in combination with the mirror modifier as shown in (Stack Ordering) from the previous section. The mirror 
modifier must appear before the SubSurf modifier in the list, otherwise the original half of the object gets 
subsurfaced and then mirrored, which may not be what you expected. 

The Delete (9) button does exactly what one would expect; it removes the modifier from the stack entirely. 

The Apply (10) and Copy (11) buttons have two very different functions despite their proximity to each other. 
Apply evaluates the modifier as if it were the first modifier in the stack and writes the results into the mesh, in 
effect "baking" the result of that modifier into the object. The Copy button creates a copy of the current 
modifier, including its settings, at the bottom of the modifier list. 



Stack 

To add a Modifier you add it to the Stack. Once added they can be rearranged under most conditions. 




Top 


|Adcl Modifier 


1 To: Cube 


[> 1 Curve 


fBFFlDl 


©Q »c 




t 1 Subsurf 


IbI+Ic^ 


O 0© K 


Stack 










h- 1 Decimate 


|E3l4l 


00 X 










aottom 


> 1 Build 


~Ji2\-+\ 


0© w 


t> Wave 


iy+ioi 


00 X 



Stack Example 

Some Modifiers can't be rearranged in the stack because they rely on certain information from the underlying 
Object data structure. These types of Modifiers are static in the stack and always insert themselves at the Top 
relative to the panel's point of view. See (Stack Example). 

For example. The Lattice Modifier can not be moved from the Top because it requires the original Object 
data. When you attempt to move it Down in the stack you will get the error message: "Cannot move beyond 
a non-deforming modifier". And like wise, if you attempt to move a modifier AZ^ove the Lattice Modifier 
you will get the error message: "Cannot move above a modifier requiring original data". 

Hence, if a modifier places itself at the Top of the stack it means the modifier requires the Original Object 
data, which is only available at the Top. 

Some Modifiers can only be applied to certain Object types. This is indicated by the panel filtering the "Add 
modifier" button on the Modifiers panel. Only modifiers that can be appUed are shown in the listbox button. 

For example. Mesh objects can have all available Modifiers applied. But Lattice type objects can only have: 
Lattice, Curve, Hooks, Wave and Armature Modifiers applied. 



Previous: Manual/Modifiers & 
Deformation 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Armature Modifier 



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424 



Armature Modifier 



Armature IVIodifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

This sub-panel appears in the Editing Context panel group which is accessed using F9 or clicking ™ button in 
the Buttons window. This sub-panel is part of the Modifier parent panel. For further information about the 
common panel components see the Interface section on modifiers. 



Armature Modifier 




Add Modifier 


1 To: Cube 




V 1 Armature 


iQt+lGl 


0© X 








|0b: 


■asd 


Appl^' 


M^BmMM 


Copy 



Modifier panel with Armature modifier activated. 

• OB: - The name of the object to which this modifier will be applied. 

• Vert.Groups - Enable/Disable vertex groups defining the deformation. 

• Envelopes - Enable/Disable bone envelopes defining the deformation. 

The Armature Modifier is used for building skeletal systems for animating the poses of characters and 
anything else which needs to be posed. 



By adding an armature system to an object, that object can be deformed accurately so that geometry doesn't 
have to be animated by hand. The Armature Modifier allows objects to be deformed by bones simply by 
specifying the name of the armature object. 



Previous: Manual/Modifier Stack 



Contents 



Next: Manual/ Arrav Modifier 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



425 



Array Modifier 



Array IVIodifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Array Modifier 

Mode: Any Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 

Description 




Multidimensional array animated with motion blur 

The Array modifier creates an array of copies of the base object, with each copy being offset from the 
previous one in a number of possible ways. Vertices in adjacent copies can be merged based on a merge 
distance, allowing smooth subsurf frameworks to be generated. 

This modifier can be useful when combined with tilable meshes for quickly developing large scenes. It is also 
useful for creating complex repetitive shapes. 



Options 



Modifiers 



Add Modifier 



■g I Array 



Fixed Count 



To: Cube 



TbT+|d| O 0© X 



Count: 1 



Constant Offset 




■^gfflSIi^H 


X: 0.000 




X: 1.000 


1 Y: 0.000 »• 


Y: 0.000 


"< Z: 0.000 »■ 


< Z: 0.000 








Merge | First Last 




Object Offset 


■< Limit: 0.0100 ■ 


Ol3: 



Array modifier 
Constant Offset, X, Y, Z 



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426 



Array Modifier 



Array IVIodifier 



Adds a constant translation component to the duplicate object's offset. X, Y and Z constant 
components can be specified. 

Relative Offset, X, Y, Z 

Adds a translation equal to the object's bounding box size along each axis, multiplied by a scaling 
factor, to the offset. X, Y and Z scaling factors can be specified. See (Relative offset example). 



SC&le US 


w~ ^ 


scits l.C 


^^^ 


^tel.5 


^ ^ ^ 



Relative offset example 

Object Offset, Oh 

Adds a transformation taken from an object (relative to the current object) to the offset. See {Object 
offset example). 



Bbject 

+ offset 



+ rotation 




Object offset example 



Length Fit 

Fit To Curve Length 
Fixed Length 
Fixed Count 



Length Fit menu 

Length Fit menu 

Controls how the length of the array is determined; see {Length Fit menu). There are three choices. 
One of Ob, Length or Count will be displayed to allow entry of the appropriate parameter depending 
on the choice selected: 

Fit To Curve Length - Generates enough copies to fit within the length of the curve object 
specified in Ob 

Note 

Fit To Curve Length uses the local coordinate system length of the curve, which means that scaling the curve 
in Object mode will not change the number of copies generated by the Array modifier. Applying the scale 
(Ctrl A) can be useful in this case. 

Fixed Length - Generates enough copies to fit within the fixed length given by Length 
Fixed Count - Generates the number of copies specified in Count 

Note 

Both Fit To Curve Length and Fixed Length use the local coordinate system size of the base object, which 
means that scaling the base object in Object mode will not change the number of copies generated by the 
Array modifier. Applying the scale (Ctrl A) can be useful in this case. 

Ob 



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427 



Array Modifier 



Hints 



The Curve object to use for Fit To Curve Length. 



Length 



Count 



The length to use for Fixed Length. 



The number of duplicates to use for Fixed Count. 



Merge 



If enabled, vertices in each copy will be merged with vertices in the next copy that are within the 
given merge distance. 



First Last 

If enabled and Merge is enabled, vertices in the first copy will be merged with vertices in the last 
copy (this is useful for circular objects; see {First Last merge example)). 




Subsurf discontinuity 
caused by not merging 
vertices between first and 
last copies (First Last off) 




i 



Subsurf discontinuity 
eliminated by merging 
vertices between first and 
last copies (First Last on) 



First Last merge example 



Merge Dist 

Controls the merge distance for Merge Verts. 



Hints 



Offset Calculation 



The transformation applied from one copy to the next is calculated as the sum of the three different 
components (Relative, Constant and Object), all of which can be enabled/disabled independently of the others. 
This allows, for example, a relative offset of (1, 0, 0) and a constant offset of (0.1, 0, 0), giving an array of 
objects neatly spaced along the X axis with a constant 0.1 unit of space between them. 



Examples 



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428 



Array Modifier 
Bridge 



Examples 




A bridge made from a tilable mesh 

Note 

As the Curve modifier could not be after Array in the modifier stack at the time this image was created, the 
Array modifier was applied (i.e. the "Apply" button was pressed) before the curve was added in the bridge 
image. 

Chain 




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429 



Array Modifier 



Examples 



A chain created from a single link. 
Sample blend file 



Cog 




A cog created from a single segment. 
Sample blend file 



Crankshaft 




A crankshaft. 
Sample blend file 



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430 



Array Modifier 
Fractal 



Examples 




Multidimensional array animated with motion blur 



■♦. ♦. 



. ♦■ 



♦« *♦• 



•♦■ 



A fractal-like image created with multiple array modifiers applied to a cube. 
Sample blend file 




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431 



Array Modifier 



Examples 



A fractal fern image created with 2 array modifiers and 1 mirror applied to a cube 



Organic 




Subsurfed cube array with 1 object offset, 4 cubes and a high vertex merge setting to give the effect of 
skinning 




A double spiral created with two array modifiers and one subsurf modifier applied to a cube. As above, the 
vertex merge threshold is set very high to give the effect of skinning. 
Sample blend file 



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432 



Array Modifier 



Examples 




A tentacle created with an Array modifier followed by a Curve modifier. The segment in the foreground is the 
base mesh for the tentacle; the tentacle is capped by two specially modelled objects deformed by the same 
Curve object as the main part of the tentacle. 
Sample blend file 



Track 




A track. 

Sample blend file 



Tutorials 



Some tutorials that exploit the Array modifier: 

• Creating A Double Helix With Modifiers 



Previous: Manual/ Armature Modifier 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Bevel Modifier 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



433 



Bevel Modifier 



Bevel Modifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Bevel Modifier 

Mode: Any Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 



Description 

The Bevel Modifier adds the ability to bevel the edges of mesh that the Bevel Modifier is applied to, allowing 
control of how and where the bevel is applied to the mesh. 



What is a Bevel? 

The definition of a Bevel according to wikipedia.org is: 

• A bevelled edge refers to an edge of a structure that is not perpendicular (but instead often at 45 
degrees) to the faces of the piece. The words bevel and chamfer overlap in usage; in general usage 
they are often interchanged, while in technical usage they may sometimes be differentiated.... 



Unbevleled square Bevelled square 

The picture titled "Unbevelled square" shows a square which has unbevelled edges as the angles between the 
corners of the square are 90A°/perpendicular. The picture titled "Bevelled square" shows a square which has 
bevelled corners. 

Although the 2 pictures above show 2D squares the Blender Bevel Modifier can work on both 2D and 3D 
meshes of almost any shape, not just Squares and Cubes. 



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434 



Bevel Modifier 



Setting Bevel Weight 




Default Bevel 

The picture titled "Default Bevel" shows a Blender 3D cube which a bevel applied using just the default Bevel 
Modifier settings. 



Setting Bevel Weight 

When certain bevel options (such as BevWeight in the Bevel Modifier) are set the mesh will need to have 
Bevel Weights assigned to it; otherwise the bevel will not be applied. 

Bevel Weight can be applied to selected edges of a mesh by: 

• Switching to Edit Mode. 

• Selecting the edge or edges of the mesh that you wish to apply a Bevel Weight to. 

• Pressing Shift Ctrl E or going to menu entry Mesh af Edges af Adjust Bevel Weight. 

• Then by moving the mouse around or entering a value directly at the keyboard between -1 to +1 you 
should be able to change the default Bevel Weight. You will be able to see the current value of the 
Bevel Weight change at the Bottom status area of the 3D Viewport. 

• If the Particular mesh already has a Bevel Modifier with the BevWeight button applied to it; as you 
alter the Bevel Weight you should be able to see that the bevel amount changes as the Bevel Weight is 
altered. 



Options 

The Bevel Modifier Panel is reasonably uncluttered panel and for the most part is intuitive. That said here is a 
description of some of the Buttons and Numeric Sliders contained within the panel: 



Modifiers 



|Add Modifier | To: Cube 


■^ 


Bevel KMS 




®©X 






1 


Width: 0.10 




^piy 


Onlv Vertices 


Copy 




Limit using: 








■aiillEM Ar^ie | BevWei 



• Width 



Bevel Modifier Panel 



The Width numeric slider entry field controls the width of the bevel applied to the base mesh. 
The Width can range from (no bevel applied) to .5 (half a Blender Unit). 



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435 



Bevel Modifier 



Setting Bevel Weight 



The picture titled "Bevel Width" shows 3 cube meshes each with a Bevel Modifier applied 
but having different Width values on each cube of .10, .30 and .50. 




3 Cubes with .10, .30 & .50 Bevel Widths 

Vertices Only 

The Vertices Only button in the Bevel Modifier panel alters the way in which a bevel is 
applied to the mesh. When the Vertices Only button is active only the areas near vertices are 
bevelled the rest of the face/edge is left unbevelled. 

Below is a picture of 3 bevelled cubes but this time the Vertices Only button has been 
activated: 




3 Cubes with .10, .30 & .50 Bevel Widths with Vertices Only option Button selected 

• Limit Using: 

This section of the Bevel Modifier is used to control where and when a Bevel is applied to the 
underlying mesh. 

• Limit Using: None 

The None button in the Limit Using section controls if the Bevel Modifier applies a bevel to 
an entire mesh or not. If the None button is selected then no limits are put on where a bevel is 
applied and the entire underlying mesh will be bevelled. 

• Limit Using: Angle 



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436 



Bevel Modifier 



Setting Bevel Weight 



The Angle button in the Limit Using section when selected displays a numeric slider called 
Angle. This Angle slider is used to set the angle above which an edge will be bevelled. When 
the angle between meeting edges is less than the angle in the slider box the bevel on those 
specific edges will not be applied; however a bevel will be applied on other edges which are 
greater than the specified Angle. 







IT 


Id Modifier | To: Cube 




V 


Bevel m}¥\G 




©©X 








Width: 0.10 




Af,f,\v 


Onl^ Vertices 


Cop/ 




Limit using: 








None BSEn EievWei 




AngW. 30.00 














,',: 











Bevel Modifier with Angle limit displayed 

Limit Using: BevW eight 

The BevWeight button in the Limit Using section when selected makes the Bevel Modifier 
take into account any Bevel Weights that may or may not be assigned to edges of the 
underlying mesh. When the BevWeight button is active and the edges of the underlying mesh 
actually have Bevel Weights assigned, the Bevel Modifier will use the values of the Bevel 
Weights to influence how much affect the Bevel Modifier will have on an edge (how much 
bevel that edge will get). 



Modifiers 



Add Modifier 



To: Culse 



•w Bevel 



im¥m 



©©X 



Widtli:0.10 



Only Vertices 



■^tJll/ 



Cop/ 



Limit using: 



m 



Bevel Modifier with BevWeight button active 

When the BevelWeight button is active, 3 extra buttons appear underneath it named Min, 
Average and Max. These buttons control how the Bevel Weighted influences are calculated 
and assigned at places where 2 Bevel Weighted Edges meet that have different weights. 
Obviously when there are 2 Bevel Weighted edges which are directly linked/connected to 
each other, there needs to be a way to determine which particular Bevel Weight gets assigned 
at the point of contact between the 2 Bevel Weighted edges (Interpolation vertex point in the 
diagrams of the 3 cubes). 

Here is an example screenshot showing the effect of different BevWeight Interpolation modes 
(Min, Avg & Max buttons): 



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437 



Bevel Modifier 



Setting Bevel Weight 



BevWteight 
.5 



Cube 1 



BevWeight 
.5 (Interpolated Min) 



BevWeight 

1 




BevWeight BevWeight BevWeight 

.5 ,75 (interpolated Avg) 1 



Cube 2 




BeuWteight 
.5 



Cube 3 



BevWeight 
1 (Intefpolaiecf (Max) 



Be\rtWeight 
1 




Bevel Modifier with BevWeight Limit Using Min, Avg and Max interpolation mode buttons 

• Limit Using: Min 

When 2 Bevel Weighted edges with different Bevel Weights meet; the Interpolation/ Contact 
point between the 2 Bevel Weighted edges will use the smaller of the 2 Bevel Weights as the 
Bevel Weight for the Interpolation/Contact point (See Cube 1). 

• Limit Using: Average 



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438 



Bevel Modifier Examples 

When 2 Bevel Weighted edges meet; the Interpolation/Contact point between the 2 Bevel 
Weighted edges will use the Average weight of the 2 Bevel Weights as the Bevel Weight for 
the Interpolation/Contact point (See Cube 2). 

• Limit Using: Max 

When 2 Bevel Weighted edges meet; the Interpolation/Contact point between the 2 Bevel 
Weighted edges will use the Larger weight of the 2 Bevel Weights as the Bevel Weight for 
the Interpolation/Contact point (See Cube 3). 

Note 

Thanks to Xalt for making clear how the Limit Using BevWeight Min, Avg and Max buttons affect 
underlying meshs. — Terrywallwork — 28th June 2008. 

Examples 

Tutorials and examples of how to use the modifier here. 

See Also 

Links to other related or useful places for further information here. 



Previous: Manual/ Arrav Modifier Contents Next: Manual/Booleans 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 439 



Boolean Modifier Boolean Modifier 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Boolean Modifier 

Mode: Object Mode (Mesh objects only) 
Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 
Hotkey: W 
Menu: Object Boolean Operation... 



Description 

Boolean operations are a method of combining or subtracting solid objects from each other to create a new 
form. Boolean operations in Blender only work on two Mesh type objects, preferably ones that are solid, or 
closed, with a well defined interior and exterior surface. If more than two mesh objects are selected only the 
active and previously selected object are used as operands. The boolean operations also take Materials and 
UV-Textures into account, producing objects with Material indices or multi UV-mapped objects. 



Options 

Boolean Menu 

Using the Boolean menu (W in Object Mode) presents the following options: 



Boolean Tools 

Intersect 

Union 

Difference 

Add intersect tvlodifier 

Add iJnion tvlodifier 

Add Difference Modifier 



Boolean operations 

• Intersect 

Creates a new object whose surface encloses the volume common to both original objects. 

• Union 

Creates a new object whose surface encloses the total volume of both original objects. 

• Difference 

The only operation in which the order of selection is important, the active object is subtracted from 
the selected object. That is, the resulting object surface encloses a volume which is the volume 
belonging to the selected and inactive object, but not to the selected and active one. 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 440 



Boolean Modifier Options 

• Add Intersect Modifier 

A shortcut that apphes a Boolean Modifier and selects Intersect in one step. 

• Add Union Modifier 

A shortcut that applies a Boolean Modifier and selects Union in one step. 

• Add Difference Modifier 

A shortcut that applies a Boolean Modifier and selects Dijference in one step. 

Boolean Modifier 

This sub-panel appears in the Editing Context panel group which is accessed using F9 or clicking ™ button in 
the Buttons window. This sub-panel is part of the Modifier parent panel. For further information about the 
common panel components see the Interface section on modifiers. 



KIHS^^^^^^^^^^^^H 






be 




|Add Modifier 


To: Cl 




■ 


-v 


Boolean 


tal+l 




0© X 






intersect 







Appli/ 




Ob: 


Copi/ 



Modifier panel with Boolean modifier activated. 

Intersect 

The available boolean operation types (Intersect/Union/Difference) 
Ob 

The name of the object to be used as the second operand to this modifier. 

The downside of using the direct Boolean commands is that in order to change the intersection, or even apply 
a different operation, you need to remove the new object and redo the command. Alternatively, one can use a 
Boolean Modifier for great flexibility and non-destructive editing. As a modifier the booleans can be 
enabled/disabled or even the order rearranged in the stack. In addition, you can move the operands and see the 
boolean operation applied interactively in real time ! 

Caution 

if the objects' meshes are too complex you may be waiting a while as the system catches up with all the 
mouse movements. Turning of f display in the 3D View in the modifier panel can improve performance. 



To get the final object created (as with the direct Boolean tools) you need to "Apply" the modifier using the 
modifier's Apply button, and to see the new object you need to move the remaining operand away or switch to 
local view NumPad /. Until you apply the modifier, a new mesh object will not be created. When you apply 
the boolean modifier you are notified that any mesh sticky information, animation keys and vertex 
information will be deleted. 



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Boolean Modifier 
Examples 



Examples 



Intersect 

The cube and the sphere have been moved to reveal the newly created object (A). Each face of the new object 
has the material properties of the corresponding surface that contributed to the new volume based on the 
Intersect operation. 




Intersect Before 



Intersect After 



Union 

The cube (A) and the sphere (B) have been moved to reveal the newly created object (U). U is now a single 
mesh object and the faces of the new object have the material properties of the corresponding surface that 
contributed to the new volume based on the Union operation. 




Union example 



Difference 

The Difference of two objects is not commutative in that the active object minus the inactive object does not 
produce the same as inactive minus active. The cube (A) has been subtracted from a sphere (B), and both have 
been moved to reveal the newly created object (D). D is now a single mesh object and the faces of the new 
object have the material properties of the corresponding surface that contributed to the new volume based on 
the Difference operation. D's volume is less than B's volume because it was decreased by subtracting part of 
the cube's volume. 



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442 



Boolean Modifier 



Technical Details 




Difference example 



Technical Details 




Visible normals 

The boolean operations rely heavily on the surface normals of each object and so it is very important that the 
normals are defined properly and consistently. This means each object's normals should point outward. A 
good way to see the object's normals is to turn on the visibility of normals using the Mesh Tool 1 panel; the 
panel is accessable from the Buttons window, using F9 and clicking Draw normals. The normals are only 
visible while in Edit mode. (Visible normals) is an example of a cube with its normals visible. See The 
Interface for a full description of the Mesh Tool 1 panel. 

In the case of open objects, that is objects with holes in the surface, the interior is defined mathematically by 
extending the boundary faces of the object to infinity. As such, you may find that you get unexpected results 
for these objects. A boolean operation never affects the original objects, the result is always a new object. 

Warning 

This is NOT TRUE with the modifiers Boolean: when they are applied, they modify their owner object, and 
do not create a new one ! 

Some operations will require you to move the operands or switch to local view NumPad / to see the results of 
the boolean operation. 



Limitations & Work-arounds 

The number of polygons generated can be very large compared to the original meshes, especially when using 
complex concave objects. Furthermore, the polygons that are generated can be of poor quality, for example, 
very long and thin and sometimes very small. Try using the Decimate Modifier (EditButtons F9) to fix this 
problem. 



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443 



Boolean Modifier See Also 

Sometimes the boolean operation can fail with a message saying ("An internal error occurred — sorry"). If 
this occurs, try to move or rotate the objects just a very small amount and try again. 

See Also 

• Modifiers: Booleans 



Previous: Manual/Bevel Modifier Contents Next: Manual/Build Modifier 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 444 



Build Modifier 



Build Modifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Build Modifier 

Mode: Object Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 



Description 

The Build modifier causes the faces of the Object to appear, one after the other, over time. If the Material of 
the Mesh is a Halo Material, rather than a standard one, then the vertices of the Mesh, not the faces, appear 
one after another. 

Faces or vertices appear in the order in which they are stored in memory. This order can be altered by 
selecting the Object and pressing Ctrl F out of EditMode to sort the face based on their local Z axis height. 



Options 



Modifiers 



[Add Modifier | To: Cube 



Build lem 




©® X 






t Stsirt: 1 .00 ^ 




HiplV 


i Length: 100.00 ► 


Copv 


Randomize 






^ Seed: 1 ► 





L 



Build modifier 



Start 



The start frame of the building process 
Length 

The number of frames over which to build up from 0% to 100% 
Randomize 

Randomizes the order that the faces are built up 
Seed 

The random seed. Change this to get a different random (but deterministic) effect 



Example 



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445 



Build Modifier 



Build Modifier 




Imagine a city being built right before your eyes. How about a fountain of halos? This example shows a 
simple tube, beauty short subdivided a few times, with the modifier turned on, from frames 1 to 100 (in steps 
of 10) with no additional animation. 



Previous: Manual/Booleans 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Cast Modifier 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



446 



Cast Modifier 



Cast IVIodifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.44 

Cast Modifier 

Mode: Any Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 



Description 

This modifier shifts the shape of a mesh, curve, surface or lattice to any of a few pre-defined shapes (sphere, 
cylinder, cuboid). 

It is equivalent to the To Sphere button in the Editing Context Mesh Tools panel and the To Sphere command 
in the Editing Context Mesh Transform menu, as well as what other programs call "Spherify" or "Spherize", 
but, as written above, it is not limited to casting to a sphere. 

Hint: the Smooth modifier is a good companion to Cast, since the casted shape sometimes needs smoothing to 
look nicer or even to fix shading artifacts. 

Important 

For performance, this modifier works only with local coordinates. If the modified object looks wrong, you 
may need to apply the object's rotation (hotkey: CTRL+a), specially when casting to a cylinder. 



Options 



p 


Modifiers 


n 


E!SS^^^^^^ 






" Add Modifier 


1 


To: Suzanne. 004 


1 


w 


Cast 


\amo 


©0 X 


i 
















Sphere 


c 




Apply 




m^— 


.;-.-. 






Copy 


1 


' Factor: 


0.500 






Radius 


: 0.00 




Size: 


0.00 ► 


^^^^Q 


VGroup: 




Ob: 







Cast modifier 



Type 



XYZ 



Menu to choose cast type (target shape): Sphere, Cylinder or Cuboid. 



Toggle buttons to enable / disable the modifier in the X, Y, Z axes directions. 



Factor 



The factor to control blending between original and casted vertex positions. It's a linear interpolation: 



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447 



Cast Modifier 



Examples 



0.0 gives original coordinates (aka modifier has no effect), 1.0 casts to the target shape. Values below 
or above [0.0, 1.0] deform the mesh, sometimes in interesting ways. 



Radius 



Size 



If nonzero, this radius defines a sphere of influence. Vertices outside it are not affected by the 
modifier. 



Alternative size for the projected shape. If zero, it is defined by the initial shape and the control 
object, if any. 



From radius 

Toggle: if ON, calculate Size from Radius, for smoother results. 



Object 



The name of an object to control the effect. The location of this object's center defines the center of 
the projection. Also, its size and rotation transform the projected vertices. Hint: animating 
(keyframing) this control object also animates the modified object. 



VGroup 



A vertex group name, to restrict the effect to the vertices in it only. This allows for selective, realtime 
casting, by painting vertex weights. 



Examples 

These models also have Subsurf modifiers applied after the Cast modifier: 




Casting to sphere: Left: Factor: -0.8. Center: Factor: 0.0 (disabled). Right: Factor: 0.8. 




Casting to cylinder: Left: Factor: -0.8. Right: Factor: 0.8. 



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448 



Cast Modifier 



Examples 




Casting to cuboid: Left: Factor: -0.8. Right: Factor: 0.8. 

These have Subsurf (in simple subdiv mode) applied before the Cast modifier, to have more vertices to work 
with: 




Casting Suzanne: Left: to sphere; Center: to cylinder. Right: to cuboid. 



Previous: Manual/Build Modifier 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Cloth Modifier 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



449 



Cast Modifier 



Clotin and the IVIodifier Stack 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.46 

Cloth and the Modifier Stacl< 

Mode: Object Mode 

Panel: Editing Context af Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 





■Wdij Modifier =) To-. Cube 1 


:^ [Haok ;a|+|ri| :a 


©® X 
SB 5* 


|V(cij)llii iyhh'' 


1 ses cam pami 


XSiAsuir 'aH-ICii :a 


©€) X 


^fSiiiDMii (SJhHri] ;a. 


©©X, 





Cloth is a mesh modifier, in that it can modify the shape of the mesh. It is inserted in the modifier stack when 
you designate a mesh as Cloth. When used with other modifiers, you can achieve very convincing results. For 
more information on using Cloth, see this page. 

Modifier order is important 

• Any subsurf or smoothing modifiers should belong BELOW the cloth modifier 

• Any armature, hook or other deforming modifiers should go ABOVE the cloth modifier. 

• The cloth modifier will only take the deformations of pinned/weight painted vertices into account! 
That means that if you like to have e.g. a hook modifier to move a vertex you need to enable "pin" in 
the first cloth tab and paint that hooked vertex red for full influence of the hook modifier. 

If you Apply the Cloth modifier, you remove the simulation but leave the mesh intact and deformed according 
to that frame of the simulation. 



If you delete the modifier, the mesh goes back to its original (starting) shape and isn't a cloth simulation 
anymore. 



Previous: Manual/Cast Modifier 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Curve Modifier 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



450 



Curve Modifier Curve IVIodifier 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.46 

Curve Modifier 

Mode: Object Mode 

Panel: Editing Context af Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 



Description 



The Curve modifier fiinctions just like its predecessor with the added exception that there is no need for a 
parent/child relationship between the curve and the object being deformed, and that the effect can be applied 
to all object types in realtime. 



Options 

U mmtn 

W ]fi^tUI>Mtr 1 TO.FDM 

f » loyw _^^I HI||Bg^i ©® X 




1 



*m. 



_C0£]L 






Curve modifier panel. 

Ob 

The name of the curve object that will affect the deforming object. 
VGwup 

Vertex Group name. Name of vertex group within the deforming object. The modifier will only affect 

vertices assigned to this group. 
X, Y, Z, -X, -Y, -Z 

This is the axis that the curve deform along. 



Example 




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Curve Modifier Curve IVIodifier 



Curve modifier example. 

This example shows a mesh, the film base, that is deformed by the Curve modifier. The curve is the single 
black line running through the wheels. To animate the film going through the wheels is just a matter of 
dragging the film mesh along the curve axis ! 



Previous: Manual/Cloth Modifier Contents Next: Manual/Decimate Modifier 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 452 



Decimate Modifier 



Decimate IVIodifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



Decimate Modifier 

Mode: Object Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 

This sub-panel appears in the Editing Context panel group which is accessed using F9 or clicking " button in 
the Buttons window. This sub-panel is part of the Modifier parent panel. For further information about the 
common panel components see the Modifier Stack section. 

Description 

The Decimate modifier allows you to reduce the vertex/face count of a mesh with minimal shape changes. 
This is not applicable to meshes which have been created by modeling carefully and economically, where all 
vertices and faces are necessary to correctly define the shape, but if the mesh is the result of complex 
modeling, with proportional editing, successive refinements, possibly some conversions from SubSurfed to 
non-SubSurfed meshes, you might very well end up with meshes where lots of vertices are not really 
necessary. 

The Decimate Modifier is a quick and easy way of reducing the polygon count of a mesh non-destructively. 
This modifier demonstrates of the advantages of a mesh modifier system because it shows how an operation, 
which is normally permanent and destroys original mesh data, can be done interactively and safely using a 
modifier. 

Unlike the majority of existing modifiers, the Decimate Modifier does not allow you to visualize your changes 
in edit mode. 

The Decimator tool only handles triangles, so each quadrilateral face is implicitly split into two triangles for 
decimation. 



Options 





v| Decimate IQH- 


0© X 


1 « Ratio: 1 .000 ► | 


Copy 


Face Count: 132 



J 



Decimate modifier 



Ratio 



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453 



Decimate Modifier 



Examples 



The percentage effaces to keep after decimation, from 0.0 (0%, all faces have been completely 
removed) to 1.0 (100%, mesh is completely intact, except quads have been triangulated). 
As the percentage drops from 1.0 to 0.0 the mesh becomes more and more decimated until the mesh 
no longer visually looks like the original mesh. 
Face Count: (Display only) 

This field shows the number faces as a result of applying the Decimate Modifier. 



Examples 



Simple plane 

A simple example is a plane, and a 4x4 undeformed Grid object. Both render exactly the same, but the plane 
has 1 face and 4 vertices, while the grid has 9 faces and 16 vertices, hence lots of unneeded vertices and faces. 
The Decimate Modifier allows you to eliminate these unneeded faces. 



Decimated cylinder 




Decimate applied 

We take a simple example of decimating a cyclinder using the default of 32 segments. This will generate a 
cyclinder with 96 faces. When the Decimate Modifier is applied {Decimate applied) the face count goes up! 
This is because the Modifier converts all quadrilaterals into triangles {tris) which always increases the face 
count. Each quadrilateral {quads) decomposes into two triangles. 

The main purpose of the Decimate Modifier is to reduce mesh resources through a reduction of vertices and 
faces, but at the same time maintain the original shape of the object. 

Each of the following images has had the percentage dropped in each successive image, from 1.0 to 0.05. 
Notice that the face count has gone from 128 to 88 at 0.6% and yet the cyclinder continues to look very much 
like a cylinder and we discarded 40 unneeded faces. 



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454 



Decimate Modifier 



Examples 




1.0%. Face count (128) 0.8%. Face count (102) 0.6%. Face count (88) 




0.2%. Face count (24) 0.1%. Face count (12) 0.05%. Face count (6) 

As you can see when the percentage has reached 0.1 the cylinder looks more like a cube. And when it has 
reached 0.05 it doesn't even look like a cube! 

Once you have reached the face count and appearance you were looking for you can "Apply" the modifier. If 
you want to convert as many of the tris back to quads to reduce mesh resources further you can use (Alt J) 
while in Edit mode. 



High resolution landscape 



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455 



Decimate Modifier 



Examples 




Decimated landscape, top: original; middle: lightly decimated; bottom: heavily decimated. 

Decimated landscape, top: original; middle: lightly decimated; bottom: heavily decimated, shows a landscape 
generated via a careful application of the Noise technique described earlier, on a quite vast grid. On top, the 
result for the original mesh and below, two different levels of decimation. To the eye the difference is indeed 
almost unnoticeable, but as the vertex count goes down there is a huge gain. 



Previous: Manual/Curve Modifier 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Displace Modifier 



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456 



Displace Modifier 



Displace Modifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.45 

Displace Modifier 

Mode: Any Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 



Description 

The Displace modifier displaces vertices in a mesh based on the intensity of a texture. Either procedural or 
image textures can be used. The displacement can be along a particular local axis, along the vertex normal, or 
the separate RGB components of the texture can be used to displace vertices in the local X, Y and Z directions 
simultaneously. 



Options 



p 


Modifier; ^Bm^^^^^^^^^H 






[Add Modifier J To: P 


ane 




^ 


Dispiace y -|- u 


0© X 


1 
1 












VGroup: 




Apply 


Texture: 


copy 


Midlevel: 0.500 






Strengttn: 1 .0000 




Normal t 


Local ^ 








^^M 


■ 



Displace modifier 



VGroup 



The name of a vertex group which is used to control the influence of the modifier. 
If VGroup is empty, the modifier affects all vertices equally. 



Texture 



The name of the texture datablock from which the displacement for each vertex is derived. 
If this field is empty, the modifier will be disabled. 



Midlevel 



The texture value which will be treated as no displacement by the modifier. Texture values below this 
value will result in negative displacement along the selected direction, while texture values above this 
value will result in positive displacement. This is achieved by the equation (displacement) = (texture 
value) - Midlevel. 



Strength 



The strength of the displacement. After offsetting by the Midlevel value, the displacement will be 
multiplied by the Strength value to give the final vertex offset. This is achieved by the equation 
(vertex offset) = (displacement) * Strength. 



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457 



Displace Modifier Examples 

A negative strength can be used to invert the effect of the modifier. 

Direction 

The direction along which to displace the vertices. 
Can be one of the following: 

X - displace along local X axis 
Y - displace along local Y axis 
Z - displace along local Z axis 
RGB -> XYZ - displace along local XYZ axes individually using the RGB components of 

the texture 
Normal - displace along vertex normal 

Texture Coordinates 

The texture coordinate system to use when retrieving values from the texture for each vertex. 
Can be one of the following: 

UV - take texture coordinates from face UV coordinates; if the object has no UV coordinates, 
use the Local coordinate system 

Note 

Since UV coordinates are specified per face, the UV texture coordinate system currently determines the UV 
coordinate for each vertex from the first face encountered which uses that vertex; any other faces using that 
vertex are ignored. This may lead to artifacts if the mesh has non-contiguous UV coordinates. 

Object - take the texture coordinates from another object's coordinate system (specified by 

the Ob field) 
Global - take the texture coordinates from the global coordinate system 
Local - take the texture coordinates from the object's local coordinate system 

Ob 

The object from which to take texture coordinates. 

This field is only visible when the Object texture coordinate system is selected. 

If this field is blank, the Local coordinate system is used 

Moving the object will therefore alter the coordinates of the texture mapping. 

UV Layer 

The UV coordinate layer from which to take texture coordinates. 

This field is only visible when the UV texture coordinate system is selected. 
If this field is blank, but there is a UV coordinate layer available (e.g. just after adding the 
first UV layer to the mesh), it will be overwritten with the currently active UV layer. 



Examples 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 458 



Displace Modifier 



Examples 




Three different objects created with the Displace modifier. 
Sample blend file 




A slime animation created with the Displace modifier. 
YouTube video 
Sample blend file 



Previous: Manual/Decimate Modifier 



Contents 



Next: Manual/EdgeSplit Modifier 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



459 



EdgeSplit Modifier 



EdgeSplit IVIodifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

EdgeSplit Modifier 

Mode: Any Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 

Description 

The EdgeSplit modifier splits edges within a mesh. The edges to split can be determined fi^om the edge angle 
or edges marked as sharp can be split. 

Splitting an edge affects vertex normal generation at that edge, making the edge appear sharp. Hence, this 
modifier can be used to achieve the same effect as the Autosmooth button, making edges appear sharp when 
their angle is above a certain threshold. It can also be used for manual control of the smoothing process, where 
the user defines which edges should appear smooth or sharp (see Mesh Smoothing for other ways to do this). 
If desired, both modes can be active at once. The output of the EdgeSplit modifier is available to export 
scripts, making it quite useful for creators of game content. 

Options 



Modifiers 



Add Modifier To: Cylinder 


1 




V EdgeSpiit [H^l^ (J 


®® X 




^B^KMiiMiEiii^illll 


Apply 


\i SplitAngie: 30.00 T] 


Copy 


1 From Marl<:ed As Sliarp ^^^^^^^^^| 



EdgeSplit modifier 

From Edge Angle 

If this button is enabled, edges will be split if their edge angle is greater than the Split Angle setting. 
The edge angle is the angle between the two faces which use that edge. 
If more than two faces use an edge, it is always split. 
If fewer than two faces use an edge, it is never split. 

SplitAngie 

This is the angle above which edges will be split if the From Edge Angle button is selected, from 0° 
(all edges are split) to 180° (no edges are split). 

From Marked As Sharp 

If this button is enabled, edges will be split if they are marked as sharp, using the Edge Specials Mark 
Sharp menu item, accessible by (Ctrl E) in editmode. 



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460 



EdgeSplit Modifier 



Examples 



Examples 




EdgeSplit modifier output with From Marked As Sharp selected. 
Sample blend file 




EdgeSplit modifier output with From Edge Angle selected. 
Sample blend file 


Previous: Manual/Displace Modifier Contents 


Next: Manual/Explode Modifier 



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461 



Explode Modifier Explode Modifier 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Explode Modifier 

Mode: Any Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 



Description 

The Explode Modifier is used to alter the mesh geometry (by moving/rotating its faces) in a way that 
(roughly) tracks underlying emitted particles that makes it look as if the mesh is being exploded (broken apart 
and pushed outward). 

For the Explode Modifier to have a visible effect on the underlying mesh it has to be applied to a mesh which 
has a particle system on it, in otherwords it has to be a mesh which outputs particles. This is because the 
particle system on the mesh is what controls how a mesh will be exploded, and therefore without the particle 
system the mesh wont appear to alter. Also both the number of emitted particles and number of faces 
determine how granular the Explode Modifier will be. With default settings the more faces and particles the 
more detailed the mesh exploding will be, because there are more faces and particles to affect 
detachment/movement of faces. 

Here is a link to an Ogg Theora Movie showing a cube with a particle system and Explode Modifier applied: 

Media:Manual - Explode Modifier - Exploding Cube.ogg 

Here is a link to the original Blender file which has an Exploding cube setup, just free the particle cache by 
pressing the Free Bake button in the bake panel and then press the Animate button to see the animation: 

Media: Manual - Explode Modifier - Exploding Cube .blend 



Options 

• Stacking Order Importance 

This modifier is highly affected by its position within the modifier stacking order. If it is 
applied before a Particle System modifier it will not be affected by particles and therefore 
appear to do nothing. The Particle System Modifier must appear before the Explode Modifier 
because the Particle System Modifier has the information needed to drive the Explode 
Modifier. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 462 



Explode Modifier 



Explode Modifier 



f Modifiers 



|Add Modifier | To: Cube 

? I article System 1 BHl 
See Partiele buttons. 

? I Explode W^ ^ 




I Convert] 
00 X 



^Ply 



Copy 



Explode Modifier panel with Particle System Modifier above it. 



• Protect this vertex group 



If a mesh that has an Explode Modifier on it also has vertex groups assigned to it then this 
field will allow the selection of one of those vertex groups. This will indicate to the Explode 
Modifier that it should take into account the weight values assigned to areas of the selected 
vertex group. Then depending on the weights assigned to that vertex group; either completely 
protect those faces from being affected by the Explode Modifier (which would happen if the 
faces had a weight value of 1) or completely remove protection from those faces (which 
would happen if the faces had a weight value 0). 



* * Modifiers tf^^^^^^^^l^ 


|Add Modifier | To: Cube 






^ 


Explode ftim 


Q©x 






-.u\ 


.ippi/ 




0,000 1 


Cop/ 




niUiiii 



Explode Modifier panel with "Protect this vertex group" field highlighted in yellow. 

As well as completely protecting a face (with a weight painting of 1) or completely allowing a 
face to be exploded (weight painting of 0). It is possible to have in between weight paint 
values (weight painting values that arn't or 1) that tell the Explode Modifier to only partially 
effect the underlying mesh. 

Below is a plane which has been weight painted in 2 different weight paints, red which 
represents a weight paint of 1, and blue which represents a weight paint of 0. The reason that 
weight painting is used is because whenever you weight paint something it automatically 
makes a new vertex group (if the plane doesn't already have one), which can then be used 
with the "Protect this vertex group" field. 




Weight painted plane before Explode Modifier is run. 



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463 



Explode Modifier 



Explode Modifier 



Below is the same plane while the Explode Modifier is in the process of exploding the plane. 
As can be seen the weight painting means that the red (weight paint of 1) faces are left 
unmodified, and the blue (weight paint of 0) faces are modified. 

Remember that by default weight painting makes a vertex group, that is what needs to be 
selected in the "Protect this vertex group" field for the weight painting to be taken notice of. 




Weight painted plane after Explode Modifier is mn. Showing the red area unmodified and the blue area 
exploded. 

Here is a link to an Ogg Theora Movie showing a weight painted plane, painted with 
minimum and maximum weights to be animated with the Explode Modifier: 

Media:Manual - Explode Modifier - Dual Weighted Plane. ogg 

Here is a link to the original Blender file which the above movie was made from, just free the 
particle cache by pressing the Free Bake button in the bake panel and then press the Animate 
button to see the animation: 

Media:Manual - Explode Modifier - Dual Weighted Plane.blend 

Below is a plane which has got a blended weight paint on it, with RED being a weight paint 
of 1 through to other lower weighted colours all the way to BLUE which is a weight paint of 
0. 




Blended Weight painted plane before the Explode Modifier is run. 

Below is the same blended weight painted plane after it has had the Explode Modifier running 
on it. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



464 



Explode Modifier 



Explode Modifier 



■ ■■■' 'M-"tk ,V^ 




Blended weight painted plane after the Explode Modifier is run. 

As can be seen the top part of the blended plane is highly affected by the Explode Modifier; 
whereas, lower down the plane, where the weight painting gets higher in weight, is affected 
less and less by the Explode Modifier. 

Here is a link to an Ogg Theora movie showing a blended weight painted plane, painted with 
multiple weights animated with the Explode Modifier: 

Media:Explode Modifier - Graded Weighted Plane - Exploded.ogg 

Here is a link to the original Blender file which the above movie was made from, just free the 
particle cache by pressing the Free Bake button in the bake panel and then press the Animate 
button to see the animation: 

Media:Explode Modifier - Graded Weighted Plane.blend 



• Clean vertex group edges 



This numeric slider field appears to erode the exploded edges around a vertex groups edges 
(making edges less jaggied). The slider can have a value between (no eroding of edges) and 
1 maximum erosion of edges. 









■ [Add Modifier | To: Cube 


V lartieleSt'stem 1 'StMM 
See Partiele buttons. 


©0 X 

Convert | 


^1 Explode mm 


©© X 


iGi-ouB siKl 


Appiv' 




Copv' 


lo.ooo J 1 


1 Refresh ISolit Edges J ■ 




^^^^^^H 



The Clean vertex group edges numeric slider field highlighted in yellow. 

Below are some screenshots of a mesh that has had an Explode Modifier applied to it with 
various values for "Clean vertex group edges": 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



465 



Explode Modifier 



Explode Modifier 




Caution 

I have been unable to find out a definitive explanation of exactly how the "Clean vertex group edges" works 
on a mesh and what the slider value represents, so I have just used my best guess from looking at the result 
of using it and setting it with different values. If you have a more concrete definition of what is does please 
alter this text to reflect it or contact me and I will update the text. — Terrywallwork 

• Refresh (Recalculate faces assigned to particles) 

When certain changes are made to the underlying Explode Modifier mesh (such as changing 
the vertex group weightings of faces) the faces displayed and the particles that influence 
certain faces can get out of sync. If this happens pressing the Refresh button will tell the 
Explode Modifier to update all it's calculations to take into account new settings. 



r^ 



Modifiers 



Add Modifier 



To: Cube 



V 


arficleSvstem 1 fuffl 
See Particle buttons. 




©0 X 

Convert] 


V 


E«piode lum 




©© X 




Group ■: 1 X 




Appi/ 


0.000 1 


Cop/ 




Fiefresli | Split Edges 








L!lilSEIl!^E21^9 De^ 













Explode Modifier Panel with the Refresh button highlighted in yellow. 



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466 



Explode Modifier 



Explode Modifier 



As an example, if you have a mesh that has faces that get modified by the end of an Explode 
Modifier run and you then alter those faces vertex group weights so they have a value of 1 
(meaning they can't get altered in future (when the "Protect this vertex group" option is 
active)) the Explode Modifier will still show the old altered state of the faces until you click 
the Refresh button. 



Split Edges 



When this button is selected faces which are exploded are split making them smaller and 
more fragmented, giving more faces for the Explode Modifier to work with and usually 
giving better explode results. 

Below are 2 screenshots of a Explode Modifier in progress; one with no Split Edges option 
active and one with Split Edges activated: 



WJ»«litlllH«M^»l*AIII*H8a 




Uvsphere without Split Edges activated on the Explode Modifier. 




Uvsphere with Split Edges activated on 
the Explode Modifier. 



• Unborn 



• Ahve 



This button controls whether mesh faces will be visible or not before a particle for it has been 
created/born. 



^y Modifiers Hajg^^^^^^Bg 


lAdd Modifier 


1 To: Cube 




IS? 


Explode 


""' 




©O X 




^U 




.ippi/ 


0.000 1 


Copy 


r Refresh 


Spiit Edges 






Unborn AJive | Dead 


^ 


^^^^ 







Explode Modifier Panel with the Unborn button highlighted in yellow. 

What this means for example, is if you have an Explode Modifier on a mesh and certain faces 
on that mesh do not currently have any created/born particles on them then those faces will 
not be visible if the Unborn button is not selected, making faces appear to pop into visibility 
when particles are created/born. 



This button controls whether mesh faces will be visible or not while a particle for it is 
Alive/Active. 



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467 



Explode Modifier 



Examples 



g I Explode 



To: Cube 



I 



0.000 I 

Refresh I Split Edges 



Unborn AJive Dead 



^piy 



Copy 



• Dead 



Explode Modifier Panel with the Alive button highlighted in yellow. 

What this means for example, is if you have an Explode Modifier on a mesh and certain faces 
on that mesh have particles that are Alive/Active on them then those faces will be visible if 
the Alive button is selected. 



This button controls whether mesh faces will be visible or not when the particle associated 
with the face is dead. 



p 


r Modifiers ^IMJfliJ^ 


^ 


' [Add Modifier | To: Culae 


^ 


EKplode fa^ 


Q© * 




^U 


Appiy 


0.000 1 


Copy 


Refresh | Spiit Edaes 




Unborn 1 Alive Dead 


^ 





Explode Modifier Panel with the Dead button highlighted in yellow. 

What this means for example, is if you have an Explode Modifier on a mesh and certain faces 
on that mesh have particles that are Dead on them then those faces will be visible if the Dead 
button is selected. 



Examples 

Exploding Cube 

Weight painted object witli SplitEdge opt\on not seiected 

Note that in the image to the right, the faces are not jagged. 




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468 



Explode Modifier 



Examples 



Weight painted object witli SplitEdge option selected 

Note that in the image to the right, the edges are jagged 




Download .blend file 



Media: Manual - Explode Modifier - Example Exploding Cube.blendaC 



See Also 



Using the Explode Modifier with a Particle System to break meshes apart 



Previous: Manual/EdgeSplit Modifier 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Hooks 



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469 



Object Hooks Object Hooks 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Hooks are similar to Shape Keys in that they deform a mesh over time (frames). The difference is that hooks 
make it look like the mesh is snagged with a fish hook. Moving the hook moves selected vertices under the 
influence of the hook (which is really just an Empty), and you make the hook move by animating the motion 
of the empty through Ipo keys. As the hook moves, it pulls weighted vertices from the mesh with it. If you 
have used Proportional Editing, you can think of it as animated proportional editing. While hooks do not give 
you the fine control over vertice movement that Shape Keys do, they are much simpler to use. 



Object Hooks 

Mode: Object Mode / Edit Mode 
Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 
Hotkey: Ctrl H 
Menu: Mesh Vertices Add Hook 



Description 

Hooks give access at object level to the underlying geometry of meshes, curves, surfaces or lattices. A hook is 
an object feature and it is like a parent to an object, but for vertices. You can create as many hooks to an 
object as you like, and assign for each hook vertices that will be affected. Overlapping hooks is also possible, 
here a weighting factor per hook is provided that determines the amount each hook will affect the overlapping 
vertices. 

All object level options and transformations are possible on the hook object, including using hierarchies, 
constraints, ipo and path animations. You can also make the hook-parent a child of the original object if you 
don't want object transformations to deform the hooks. 

Note 

When you change topology (i.e. more destructive editing than just manipulating existing points), you most 
likely have to reassign existing hooks as well. 



Examples 

A typical example of using Hooks is to animate vertices or groups of vertices. For example, you may want to 
animate the vertices associated with a "Mouth" on a character's face. 

In {Animated face frame 1) and {Animated face frame 10) a face made from Bezier curves has two Hooks 
applied. One applied to a control-point on the mouth labeled "A" and one applied to the eyebrow labeled "B". 
The animation has 10 frames over which Hook A moves up and Hook B moves down. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 470 



Adding Hooks 



Adding Hool<s 




Animated face frame 10. 



Animated face frame 1 . 

Adding Hooks 

Mode: Edit Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: Ctrl H 

Menu: Mesh Vertices Add Hook 



Description 

Since hooks relate to vertices or control points, most editing options are available in edit mode for meshes, 
curves, surfaces and lattices. 



Options 




Hooks menu 

Add, New Empty 

Adds a new hook and create a new empty object, that will be a parent to the selection, at the center of 

the selection 
Add, To Selected Object 



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471 



Hook Modifier Hook IVIodifier 

When another object is selected (you can do that in edit mode with Ctrl RMB - ) the new hook is 
created and parented to that object 



Editing Hooks 

Mode: Edit Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: Ctrl H 

Menu: Mesh Vertices Add Hook 

Description 

Once hooks are available in an object, the hook menu will give additional options: 

Options 

Hooks 

Add Hook, To New Empty 

Add Hook, To Selected Object 

Remove... 

Reassign... 

Select... 

Clear Offset... 



Hooks extended menu 

Remove 

This will give a new menu with a list of hooks to remove 
Reassign 

Use this if you want to assign new vertices to a hook 
Select... 

Select the vertices attached to a specific hook 
Clear Offset... 

Neutralize the current transformation of a hook parent 



Hook Modifier 

Mode: Object Mode / Edit Mode 
Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 
Hotkey: Ctrl H 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 472 



Hook Modifier Description 

Description 

Hooks are modifiers, that are added to the modifier stack. For each hook modifier, you can give a hook a new 
name, the default name is the parent name, give it a new parent by typing the new parents name or assign it a 
Force weighting factor. 



Options 



I Add Modifier | "6; Bourcy 



Fditg: 1.0 - 



Qb: Empt 



Reset I [^center 



^ppiy 



<^°PV 



In the editing buttons, modifier panel, when a hook is created, you can control it via the panel. 

Ob 

The parent object name for the Hook. Changing this name also recalculates and clears offset 
Reset 

Recalculate and clear the offset transform of Hook 
Recenter 

Set Hook center to cursor position 
Select 

Select affected vertices on mesh 
Reassign 

Reassigns selected vertices to this hook 

Force 

Since multiple hooks can work on the same vertices, you can weight the influence of a hook this way. 
Weighting rules are: 

If the total of all forces is smaller than 1.0, the remainder, 1.0-forces, will be the factor the 

original position have as force. 
If the total of all 'forces' is larger than 1.0, it only uses the hook transformations, averaged by 
their weights. 

Fallojf 

If not zero, the falloff is the distance where the influence of a hook goes to zero. It currently uses a 
smooth interpolation, comparable to the Proportional Editing Tools. (See mesh_modeling_PET) 



Previous: Manual/Explode Modifier Contents Next: Manual/Lattice Modifler 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 473 



Lattice Modifier 
User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



Lattice IVIodifier 



Lattice Modifier 

Mode: Object Mode 

Panel: Editing Context af Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 

The Lattice modifier deforms the base object according to the shape of a Lattice object. 

Options 







■ 




be 




p 


hd Modifier 


1 To:Q 




1 


r 


Lattice 


IQI+Iu 




©© X 




1 


Ob: 




■^5piy 




VGmup: 


Copy 








d 



Modifier panel with Lattice modifier activated. 
Ob: 



The Lattice object with which to deform the base object. 



V Group: 



An optional vertex group which controls the strength of the deformation. 



Hints 

The Lattice Modifier has the same functionality as its earlier counterpart. The primary differences between the 
earlier version and the implementation as a Modifier is that now the effect can be applied in realtime, while 
editing, to any object type without concern for a parent/child relationship. 

Instead, one only has to type the name of the lattice object into the Ob: field and the modifier takes effect 
immediately. You can even see the effect on the object inside edit mode using the Cage Mode (6) button. 

There is a separate panel for controlling the Lattice Modifier called Lattice . This panel is where lattice 
attributes are controlled. 

A Lattice consists of a non-renderable three-dimensional grid of vertices. Their main use is to give extra 
deformation capabilites to the underlying object they control. These child objects can be Meshes, Surfaces and 
even Particles. 



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474 



Lattice Modifier 



Example/Tutorial(s) 



Why would you use a Lattice to deform a mesh instead of deforming the mesh itself in Edit Mode? There are 
a couple of reasons for that: 

• First of all: It's easier. Since your mesh could have a zillion vertices, scaling, grabbing and moving 
them could be a hard task. Instead, if you use a nice simple lattice your job is simplified to move just 
a couple of vertices. 

• It's nicer. The deformation you get looks a lot better! 

• It's fast! You can use the same lattice to deform several meshes. Just give each object a lattice 
modifier, all pointing to the same lattice. 

• It's a good practice. A lattice can be used to get different versions of a mesh with minimal extra work 
and consumption of resources. This leads to an optimal scene design, minimizing the amount of 
modelling work. A Lattice does not affect the texture coordinates of a Mesh Surface. Subtle changes 
to mesh objects are easily facilitated in this way, and do not change the mesh itself. 



Example/Tutorial(s) 

There are example tutorials in the Tutorials section. Ones shows how to shape a fork and the other shows how 
to make one object follow the shape of another. 

Here is a really quick example of creating landscape terrain. 

Note 

I use the Top 3D Window to perform some of these actions. 



_^^<::^^^S 


^t^~-^—- 


^^11^ 




tfff 


iW 




1 


mini 


mUi-i r .^\---.. 




Lattice object 



Lattice and Plane 

First start with a Plane Mesh object and subdivide it about 5 times using the "Subdivide" button in the Mesh 
Tools panel and click "All Edges" so we can see all the faces in wireframe mode. 

And then add a Lattice object to the scene. The default name for the Lattice object is "Lattice". Scale the 
Lattice to fit around the Mesh object using the S. 

At this time the Lattice and the Mesh are independent of each other. Neither knows of the other. We associate 
them using the Lattice Modifier. Go ahead and select the Mesh object and add a Lattice Modifier to it. Then 
fill in the "Ob:" field with the name of the Lattice object, which by default is called "Lattice". Be careful the 
field is case sensitive. 



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475 



Lattice Modifier 



Example/Tutorial(s) 



Go back to the Lattice object and bump up the U and V subdivisions to "6" each. {Lattice and Plane) is what 
we have so far as viewed from a perspective 3D window. 

Now we can begin to deform the Mesh object by going into Edit Mode while the Lattice object is selected. 
Grab a vertex, or two, and drag them up the Z-axis (Z). Then grab a few more and move them down the 
Z-axis. Note, if you feel you don't have enough vertices on the Lattice object you can always exit Edit Mode 
(i.e. Object mode ) and bump up the U and V subdivisions even more. 

{Quick landscape complete) is my attempt at creating a landscape, the landscape is in solid mode with the 
Lattice object hidden on another Layer (M). 




Quick landscape complete 



Previous: Manual/Hooks 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Mask Modifier 



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476 



Mask Modifier 



Mask Modifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.48 

Mask Modifier 

Mode: ALL 

Panel: Editing Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 

Menu: NONE/NA 



Description 

The Mask Modifier allows certain parts of an objects mesh to be hidden from view (Masked off), in effect 
making the parts of the mesh that are masked act as if they were no longer there. 





Cube before a Mask Modifier is added to the 
Cube. 



The same Cube with the Mask Modifier added with assigned 
vertex groups. 



The screenshots above show a cube before and after a Mask Modifier is added to it. In the second screenshot 
the cube has had parts of its mesh assigned to a vertex group which the Mask modifier uses to determine 
which parts will be visible and which parts wont. 



Options 

Below is a screenshot of the Mask Modifier panel and some of its options: 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



477 



Mask Modifier 



Mask Modifier 



Pl Modifiera Ui^^^^^^B | 


lAdd Modifier | To: Cube 




V 


Mask am M(y/ n 






VerteK Groufi i 




Apply 


VGroup: 


Copv 


Inverse 






^^ 




m 




^^ 


^^^^ 


^^ 



Vertex Group: 



Screenshot showing the Mask Modifier panel settings. 



When the Mask Modifier is used it must be told which parts of a mesh are to be affected by 
the Mask Modifier. There are a few ways to do this, but when the Vertex Group option is 
selected the Mask Modifier uses a specified Vertex Group to determine which parts of a mesh 
are Masked by the modifier. 



EV ft^Ddirera VS^^^^^HI 






|Add Modifier | To: Cube 






vjMask O^ 


@©X 




Vertex Group ; 
VGroup: 

Irnverse 


Appiv 




Copy 






•■ 1 



Screenshot showing the Mask Modifier panel settings with the Vertex Group option highlighted in yellow. 



VGroup: 



When the Vertex Group selection option for masking is used the VGroup field becomes 
visible. 



|Add Modifier | To: Cube 


viMask laH-l Hty) n 


L [VerteK Group i I 
1 VGroup: 

1 Inverse | 


Apply 


Copy 





m 



Screenshot showing the Mask Modifier panel settings with the VGroup option highlighted in yellow. 

In the VGroup: field enter the name of a vertex group that is associated with the current mesh. 
When this is done the Mask Modifier will update so that anywhere the vertices of the mesh 
are part of the named vertex group will be masked (which normally means they will be 
visible), and anything not part of the named vertex group will be made non-visible. 



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478 



Mask Modifier 



Mask Modifier 





Cube showing the masked parts of the mesh that are part of a 
selected vertex group. In this case highlighted in yellow. 



The effect of the vertex group on the 
underlying Cube with a Mask Modifier 
active. 



The 2 screenshots above show, first the underlying vertex groups assigned to the Cube 
(highlighted in yellow) and the second image shows the affect on the cube when it has a Mask 
Modifier applied to it. 

Any of the methods for assigning vertex weights to a mesh work with the Mask Modifier, 
however the actual weight value assigned to a vertex group is ignored by the Mask Modifier. 
The Mask Modifier only takes into account whether a set of vertices are part of a group or 
not, the weight is not taken into account. So having a vertex group weight of say .5 will not 
make a partially masked mesh. Just being part of the vertex group is enough for the Mask 
Modifier even if the weight is 0. 



• Selected Bones: 



The Selected Bones information should go here. 



Modifiers 



Add Modifier 



To: Cube 



V 


Mask IWf^ 
Selected Bones ; 


©0 X 






Apply 




Ola: 




Copv 


Inverse 







\SJ 



Screenshot showing the Mask Modifier panel settings with the Selected Bones option highlighted in yellow. 
Note 

I have been unable to determine how the Bone Selected method for Masking works, so if you know either 
update this wiki or contact me and I will do it Terrywallwork — 19 November 2008 

• Inverse: 

Normally when the Mask Modifier is applied to areas of a mesh the parts that are under the 
influence of the Mask Modifier are left visible while the parts that aren't are hidden. The 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



479 



Mask Modifier 



Examples 



Inverse button reverses this behavior. In that now parts of the mesh that were not originally 
visible now become visible and the parts that were visible become hidden. 





Screenshot showing the affect on a Cube with a Mask 
Modifier with the Inverse button not active. 

Examples 

Example Blend file using Mask Modifier 

See Also 

Put related links here. 



Screenshot showing the affect on a Cube with a 
Mask Modifier with the Inverse button active. 



Previous: Manual/Lattice Modifier 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Mesh Deform Modifier 



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480 



Mesh Deform Modifier 



Mesh Deform Modifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.46 

Mesh Deform Modifier 

Mode: ALL 

Panel: Editing Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 

Menu: NONE/NA 



Description 

The Mesh Deform Modifier allows an arbitrary closed mesh (of any closed shape, not just a cuboid shape of a 
Lattice Modifier) to act as a deformation cage around another mesh. 




Example of a Deform Mesh Cage - Deforming a Sphere 

Above is an example of a Deformed Object (shaded in gray) inside the confines of a Deform Mesh Cage 
(shown in black wireframe). The Deform Mesh Cage can be any shape of mesh but it must be closed. In the 
example above the Deform Mesh Cage is just a UVSphere that has been altered using proportional editing, as 
a result the Deformed Object alters its shape in response. The Deformed Object has had a Mesh Deform 
Modifier added to it and has been told to use the Deform Mesh Cage as the mesh it will use to deform itself. 




To: Cube 



V 


MeshDeform |w|+|n 




©0 X 






Ob: 




.Apply 


VGroup: | Inv 


Copy 


Bind 






• Fredsion: 5- 1 Dynamic 





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481 



Mesh Deform Modifier 



Options 



Mesh Deform Modifier Panel 



Options 

The Mesh Deform Modifier is reasonably easy to use but it can be very slow to do the calculations it needs, to 
properly map the Deform Mesh Cage to the Deformed Object. 

• Ob: 

The Ob: text field is used to indicate which object the Mesh Deform Modifier should use for 
its Deform Mesh Cage. 



Modifiers 



Add Modifier 



To: Cube 



V 


Mesin Deform |HWO 




©0 X 




Ols: 




AppI/ 




VGroup: | Inv 


Cop/ 




Bind 






Fredsion:5 iD/namic 





Mesh Deform Ob: field highlighted in yellow 



VGroup: 



The VGroup: text field is used to indicate that only the vertices in the specified Vertex Group 
will be affected by the Deform Mesh Cage. 




To: Culae 



T 


MesliDeform ["Ui+IO 




©0 X 










Ols: 

VGroup: Inv 




Appiy 




Cop/ 


L 


Bind 






< Precision: 5 • iD/namii; 





• Inv: 



Mesh Deform VGroup: field highlighted in yellow 



The Inv toggle button by default is de-activated and means that vertices in the Vertex Group 
specified in the VGroup: text field will be affected by the Deform Mesh Cage and vertices 
that aren't in the specified vertex group will NOT be affected. When the Inv toggle button is 
activated, any vertices within the specified vertex group will NOT be affected by the Deform 
Mesh Cage, while vertices that aren't in the specified vertex group will be affected by the 
Deform Mesh Cage. Inv is short for Inverse. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



482 



Mesh Deform Modifier 



Options 



• Bind: 



K 


Modifiers H^^9 


^BB 


M Modifier j To: Cube 






V 


Mesh Deform fi^flO 




©0 X 




Ob: 


■^Pl/ 


VGroup: Inv 


Cop/ 


Bind 






■ Precision: 5 iD/namii; 


L 







Mesh Deform Inv Button highlighted in yellow 



The Bind button is what tells the Mesh Deform Modifier to actually link the Deform Mesh 
Cage to the Deform Object, so that altering the shape of the Deform Mesh Cage actually 
alters the shape of the Deform Object. 



Modifiers 




Mesh Deform [S^IO 




©0 X 


Ob: 




■^Pl/ 


VGroup: | Inv 


Cop/ 


Bind 
' Precision: 5 |D/namic 







Mesh Deform Bind Button highlighted in yellow 

Be aware that depending on the settings of the Mesh Deform Modifier & complexity of the 
Deform Mesh Cage/Deformed Object, it can take a long time for this operation to complete. 
This can result in Blender not responding to user actions until it has completed, it is even 
possible that Blender will run out of memory and crash. As Blender progresses through this 
operation you should see the top area of the Blender header bar change color as it works its 
way through Binding the Deform Mesh Cage to the Deformed Object. 



• Unbind: 



When a Deformed Object has been associated to a Deform Mesh Cage it can later be 
disassociated with a Deform Mesh Cage by selecting the Unbind button which appears when 
a Deformed Object has previously been associated with a Deform Mesh Cage. 



Modifiers 



Add Modifier 



To: Sphere 



\ 



Mesh Deform |UH-|al ® 0© X 



Ob: Sphere. 001 



VGroup: 



/^P^f 



I^OP^ 



Unbind 



Mesh Deform Unbind Button highlighted in yellow 

When Unbind is selected the Deform Mesh Cage will keep its current shape, it will not reset 
itself back to its original start shape. If the original shape of the Deform Mesh Cage is needed 
you will have to save a copy of it before you alter it. The Deformed Object will however reset 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



483 



Mesh Deform Modifier 



Options 



back to it's original shape that it had before it was Binded to the Deform Mesh Cage. 

• Precision: 

The Precision numeric slider field, controls that accuracy with which the Deform Mesh Cage 
alters the Deformed Object when the points on the cage are moved. 



Modifiers 



Add Modifier 



To: Cube 



Mesli Deform flJpFlO 




©0 X 






Ob: 




AppI/ 


VGroup: | Inv 


Cop/ 


Bind 






.' Precision: 5 ■ D/namii; 





I up: 

I |vGrou| 

I 

■ < Pred! 

to 



Mesh Deform Precision numeric slider highlighted in yellow 

The range of values for the Precision numeric slider field can range from 2 to 10. The default 
value for the Precision field is 5, raising this value higher can greatly increase the time it takes 
the Mesh Deform Modifier to complete its Binding calculations. 

Increasing Precision slider will get more accurate cage mapping to the Deformed Object. This 
rise in calculation time can make Blender stop responding until it has calculated what it needs 
to. As well as making Blender not respond, raising the Precision value high and then trying to 
Bind on a very complex Deform Mesh Cage or Deformed Object can use large amounts of 
memory and in extreme cases crash Blender. To be safe, save your blend file before 
proceeding. 



Dynamic: 



The Dynamic button, indicates to the Mesh Deform Modifier that it should also take into 
account deformations and changes to the underlying Deformed Object which were not a 
direct result of Deform Mesh Cage alteration. 



ffl 


Modifiers Q^S 


^^^■1 






ube 




[Add Modifier J To: C 






1 


MesiiDeform |ijH-|n 




©0 X 






Ob: 




Apply 


VGroup: | Inv 


Copy 


Bind 




• Precision: 5 ■ Dynamic 




P 










^^^1 


^^^^H 


^^H 



Mesh Deform Dynamic button highlighted in yellow 

With Dynamic button activated other mesh altering features such as other modifiers and 
Shape Keys are taken into account when Binding a Deform Mesh Cage to a Deformed Object. 

The Dynamic button is deactivated by default to save memory and processing time when 
Binding. When Dynamic is activated deformation quality can be increased, but this comes at 
the expense of Binding time and memory used. 



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484 



Mesh Deform Modifier 



Otiner Characteristics of Mesh Deform Modifier 



Other Characteristics of l\/lesh Deform l\/lodifier 

The are some characteristic of the Mesh Deform Modifier which are not directly visible within the Mesh 
Deform Modifier pane. This section list some of those issues and features. 



l\/lode of Operation 

Alterations made to the Deform Mesh Cage will only be reflected in the Deformed Object when the cage is in 
Edit Mode, when in Object mode the cage can be scaled and distorted but it will not effect the Deformed 
Object. 



Deform l\/lesh Cage Location AFTER Binding 

While a Deform Mesh Cage is being Binded to a Deformed Object the cage must surround all the parts of the 
Deformed Object you wish to be affected by the cage. Once the Deform Mesh Cage has been Binded it can be 
moved away from the Deformed object in Object Mode. When you then switch the Deform Mesh Cage back 
to Edit Mode and alter its shape, it will alter the Deformed Object even when it is not directly surrounding it. 



Distance from Deform l\/lesh Cage & Deformed Object 

Distance between the Deform Mesh Cage and the object to be deformed (Deformed Object) has an influence 
on the amount of change imparted to the Deformed Object when the Deform Mesh Cage is altered (when in 
Edit Mode). When the Deform Mesh Cage is further away from Deformed Object, then the amount of change 
imparted to the Deformed Object is less and less local to a specific area of the Deformed Object. When the 
Deform Mesh Cage is closer to the Deformed Object the amount of influence upon the Deformed Object is 
greater and more local to a specific area on the Deformed Object. 



o 




ES 



Un-deformed Sphere 



Large Distance Between a Deform Mesh Cage & a 
Deformed Object 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



485 



Mesh Deform Modifier Multi-res support? 




9 



Smaller Distance Between a Deform Mesh Cage Animation showing the difference between each Sphere 
& a Deformed Object deform in a Deform Mesh Cage (click to see animation) 

Above are examples of the effect of different Deform Mesh Cage distances from a Deformed Object. The top 
left image shows a normal un-deformed UVSphere. The top right image shows the same UVSphere but with 
a Deform Mesh Cage which is very close to the Deformed Object, and as a result there is quiet large 
deformation in the Deformed Object. The bottom left image shows the deformation of a Deformed Object 
when the Deform Mesh Cage is further away. It can be seen that the Deformed Object alteration is much more 
muted, even though the vertex that has been moved in the Deform Mesh Cage has moved by the same 
amount. The bottom left image shows an animated version of the other 3 images showing the change in the 
Deformed Object with different Deform Mesh Cage distances. 



Multi-res support? 

At the moment (as of Blender 2.47) Blender does not support use of Multi-res when using the Mesh Deform 
Modifier. 



Interior Control 

Besides the cage, having more faces within the cage, which can be loose or forming another smaller cage, can 
be used for extra control. Such smaller cages may also overlap with the main cage, for example to get extra 
control over the eyes, two small sphere cages could be added around them. 

Interior Control - Clarification? 

The above is a paraphrased quote and to me it's not very clear. If anyone has more information or a better 
way to demonstrate what it is saying, either alter this document or contact me and I will do it. — 
Terrywallwork - 25th Sept 2008 



Implementation 

The Mesh Deform Modifier implementation method in Blender 2.46 is currently "Harmonic Coordinates (for 
Character Articulation)" Volume Deformation Method developed by Pushkar Joshi, Mark Meyer, Tony 
DeRose, Brian Green and Tom Sanocki of Pixar Animation Studios. This method was presented at the 
Siggraph 2007 conference. It has many advantages in controlling the deformations of meshes. 

A copy of the implementation pdf document can be downloaded here: 



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Mesh Deform Modifier Examples 

Harmonic Coordinates for Character Articulation 
A video demonstrating some of the important features of the implementation can be viewed below: 

Examples 

Blender file showing an example of a Mesh Deform Modifier 

Blender file showing the effect of distance on the effect of a Mesh Deform Modifier 

Blender file showing the usage of Deform Mesh Cage on the BBB Chinchilla 

See Also 

Put related links here. 



Previous: Manual/Mask Modifier Contents Next: Manual/Mirror Modifier 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 487 



Mirror Modifier 



Mirror Modifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Mirror Modifier 

Mode: Any Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 



Description 

The Mirror Modifier automatically mirrors a mesh along the Local X, Y or Z axis which passes through the 
object center. It then welds vertices together on the mirror plane within a specified tolerance distance. 
Vertices from the original object can be prevented from moving across or through the mirror plane. 

The examples below show the mirror modifier in action in all three axes. The object center, pink dot, is moved 
from object center so that the mirror plane is more obvious to spot. 




Mirror Y axis. 



Options 



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Mirror Modifier 



Mirror Modifier 




To: Cube 



^Mirror Q|-|- U 


O 


©0 X 




\a Merge Limit: 0.0010 




Appi/ 


O V 1 I 1 Do Clipping 


Copy 



Mirror modifier 



• Merge Limit: - The distance before welding of vertices begins. The vertices will snap together when 
they reach the distance specified. 

• X,Y,Z - The axis along which to mirror. To understand how the axis applies to the mirror direction, if 
you where to mirror on the x axis, the x plus values of the original mesh would become x minus 
values on the mirrored instance. 

• Do Clipping - Prevents vertices from crossing through the mirror plane. 




Vertices do not clip together. 

While the Do Clipping is un-selected the vertices will not clip together at the mirror plane even if they are 
within the Merge Limit. 



■ 


■ 


■ 


f 


f 


1 


m 







■ 


^m 


1 


m 


M 





No vertex Chpping. Vertices have clipped together. 

If Do Clipping is selected but vertices are outside of the Merge Limit the vertices will not merge. As soon as 
the vertices are within Merge Limit they are clipped together and cannot be moved beyond the mirror plane. If 
several vertices are selected and are at different distances to the mirror plane, they will one by one be clipped 
at the mirror plane. 

Once you have confirmed clipped vertices with LMB - you must, if you want to break the clipping, un-select 
the Do Clipping to be able to move vertices away from the mirror. 



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Mirror Modifier 



Hints 



Hints 

Many modeling tasks involve creating objects that are symmetrical. However there used to be no quick way to 
model both halves of an object without using one of the workarounds that have been discovered by clever 
Blender artists over the years. 

A common technique is to model one half of an object and use Alt D to create a linked duplicate which can 
then be mirrored on one axis to produce a perfect mirror-image copy, which updates in realtime as you edit. 

The Mirror modifier offers another, simpler way to do this. Once your modeling is completed you can either 
click Apply to make a real version of your mesh or leave it as is for future editing. 



Using Mirror modifier witli Subsurf modifier 

When using the mirror modifier along with the subsurf mofifier the order in which the modifiers are placed is 
important. 




Modifiers 



Add Modifier 




To: Plane 



V 


Subsurf Ia1+1(-f 


® 


&® X 










Catmull- Clark i 




Appi/ 


Levels: 2 


Cop/ 




Render Levels: 2 >■ 








Optimal Draw 




V 


Mirror HHH 


O 


O© X 




Merge Limit: 0.0010 ► 




Appll/ 




i^YizHjoamin 


Copi/ 



i 



Subsurf modifier before Mirror modifier 



This shows the subsurf modifer placed before the mirror modifier, as you can see the effect of this is that the 
mesh splits down the centre line of the mirror efect. 




Modifiers 




Mirror [afflffl © ®® X 



Merge Limit: 0.0010 



Qn Do Clipping 



vi Subsurf 



Catmull- Clark 



Levels: 2 



Render Levels: 2 ^ 



Optimal Draw_ 



■^Pl/ 



Cop/ 



"BfflW @ ©® X 




Mirror modifier before Subsurf modifier 



This shows the mirror modifier placed before the subsurf modifier. In this order you will get the the centre 
line of the mesh snapped to the centre line, which in most cases would be the desired effect. 



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490 



Mirror Modifier Hints 

Aligning for IVIirror 

To apply a mirror modifier, it is common to have to move the object's center onto the edge or face that is to be 
the axis for mirroring. This can be tricky when attempted visually. A good technique to achieve an exact 
position is to determine the edge against which you wish to mirror. Select two vertices on that edge. Then use 
Shift S followed by Cursor->Selection . This will center the 3D cursor exactly on the edge midway between 
the two vertices. Finally, in the Editing panel (F9), select Center Cursor from the Mesh panel which will move 
the object's center to where the 3D cursor is located. Now the mirroring will be exact. 



Previous: Manual/Mesh Deform Modifier Contents Next: Manual/Particle Instance Modifier 



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Particle Instance Modifier 



Particle Instance Modifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Particle Instance Modifier 

Mode: Any Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 

Menu: NOT SET 



Description 

When a Particle Instance Modifier is added to an object, that object will be used as a particle shape on an 
object which has a particle system associated with it. This means that to use this Modifier you must also have 
another object which has a particle system on it, otherwise the Particle Instance Modifier will appear to do 
nothing. 



Both Planes 

have identical 

Particle 

Sysytems 

associated with 

them 



Plane.OOl 



This Cube has a Particle Instance Modifier 
added to it and associated to Piane.OOl 
making that emitter have Cube Particles 



Particle system on Left has no Particle Instance Modifier object associated with it. The one on the Right is 
associated with Cube shown by using a Particle Instance Modifier on the Cube 



Definitions/Terms 

Here is a brief explanation of the various terms and definition used in relation to particles and the Particle 
Instance Modifier: 

• Particle System - Is an object/mesh which has the ability to emit/generate particles activated on it. 

• Normal Particle - Is a particle that is not a Children/Child generated particle type. 

• Children/Child Particle - Is a particle type that is generated and placed with relation to other Normal 
particles that already exist. Children/Child particle are generally much quicker to calculate. 



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492 



Particle Instance Modifier 



Options 



• Unborn Particle - Is a particle which has not yet been displayed/emitted because it is not its time to be 
emitted/displayed. One of the reasons a particle can be in Unborn state is that it is before the frame at 
which it is to be emitted. 

• Alive Particle - Is a particle which has been displayed/emitted and has not yet reached its Dead state. 
One of the reasons a particle can be in an Alive state is that it has been Alive for less Frames than its 
life length. 

• Dead Particle - Is a particle which has been displayed/emitted and has reached its end of life length 
and at that point it enters the Dead state. 



Options 

Because of the co-dependant way in which the Particle Instance Modifier is influenced by the underlying 
Particle Systems on other objects, some of the apparent effects generated by the Particle Instance Modifier can 
look and act vastly different, depending on the underlying settings of the Particle Systems it is associated 
with. This is worth taking account of if the Particle Instance Modifier settings don't appear to be giving the 
results expected, as it may indicate that the Particle System settings may need altering rather than the Particle 
Instance Modifier settings. 



Modifiers 



\u^r^ Modifier | To; 






^ 


Particle Instance |yH-|d' 


O ©©X 










1 


Ob: 




Apply 


PSVS: 1 


Cop/ 


Normal 


Childre 


Path 






Unborn 


;^ive 


Dead 













m 



• Ob: 



Particle Instance Modifier Panel 



The Ob: field (short of Object), associates this Particle Instance Modifier with another object 
(usually the other object is the name of an object which has a Particle System associated with 
it). This indicates that when the object named in this field emits particles, those particles will 
have the mesh shape of the current Particle Instance Modifier's mesh. 

If for example a sphere has a Particle Instance Modifier added to it, when the Ob: field of that 
Particle Instance Modifier is filled in with the name of an object that emits particles, those 
particle will be sphere shaped because the object that had a Particle Instance Modifier added 
to it was a sphere shaped object. 



Modifiers 



Add Modifier 



To: 



\7 


Partide Instance luH-IO 


o 


©0X 




Ob: 








Apply 




' PSVS:1 1 




Copy 


Normal 


Childre 


Path 






Unborn 


AJive 


Dead 













m 



Particle Instance Modifier Panel - With the Ob: field highlighted in yellow. 



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493 



Particle Instance Modifier 



Options 



PSYS: 



Even though most of the time the Ob: field will have the name of a object which has a particle 
system entered into it, it is not mandatory you can enter an object which does not have a 
particle system and it will be accepted by the Ob: field, as there do not appear to be any 
checks made to make sure the object name entered into the Ob: field is valid. 



The PSYS: field (short of Particle System), is used to select which Particle System number to 
apply the Particle Instance Modifier to, when the mesh which has the Particle System on it 
has more than one Particle System on it. The PSYS: field can have a value between 1 and 10. 
It is possible to select any of the 10 Particle System numbers, however a check will NOT be 
made with the underlying particle emitting object specified previously in the Ob: field. If you 
select a Particle System number which does not exist on the particle emitting object, then the 
particles on the emitting mesh will keep their normal particle shapes no warning will be given 
that the chosen Particle System does not exist on a particular particle emitting mesh. 



Modifiers 



Add Modifier 



To: 



^iFarti* Instance P^^^ra O ©0 X 






lOb: 1 
B PSVS: 1 ^ 


Apply 


Copy 


MormaJ Childre Path 




Unborn .^ive Dead 









m 



Particle Instance Modifier Panel - With the PSYS: field highlighted in yellow. 

As an example, below is a single plane mesh with 2 areas (the first area shown in Red and the 
Second in White) with different Particle Systems applied to each area. The left side using a 
Particle Instance Modifier which has the shape of a sphere and the right side having a Particle 
Instance Modifier which has the shape of a cube. 




Render showing a single Plain mesh object assigned to 2 different vertex groups and each of 
those vertex groups is assigned a separate and independent Particle System, with each 
Particle System being assigned a different Particle Instance Modifier. In the case shown the 



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494 



Particle Instance Modifier 



Options 



Particle Instance Modifiers are a sphere and a cube. 

The Blend file for the example Render above can be obtained here: 

Media: Manual - Modifiers - Particle Instance Modifiers - Split Plane.blend 



Normal: 



The Normal button (highlighted in yellow) when selected tells the Particle Instance Modifier 
to draw instances of itself wherever Normal Particle types are emitted from the underlying 
Particle System, obviously the Particle Instance Modifier has to have been told to have an 
influence on the underlying particle emitting system (by entering the name of the object to 
influence in the Particle Instance Modifiers Ob: field). So if the current Particle Instance 
Modifier is a sphere shape, when Normal particles are emitted a sphere will now appear as 
well. 



Modifiers 



|Add Modifier 


Dto: 






^ll^arfide Instance ^TH-P" 


O ©©X 








Ob: 




Apply 


« PSVS: 1 


Copy 


Normal Chiidre 


Path 






1 Unborn | Ai\ve 


Dead 











m 

Particle Instance Modifier Panel - With the Normal button highlighted in yellow. 

• Children: 

The Children button (highlighted in yellow) when selected tells the Particle Instance Modifier 
to draw instances of itself wherever Children/Child Particle types are emitted/used on an 
underlying Particle System, obviously the Particle Instance Modifier has to have been told to 
have an influence on the underlying particle emitting system (by entering the name of the 
object to influence in the Particle Instance Modifiers Ob: field). So if the current Particle 
Instance Modifier is a sphere shape, when Children/Child particles are emitted a sphere will 
now appear as well. 



Modifiers 



Add Modifier 



To: 



T 


Farticie Instance fS^^S 


O 


©©X 










Ob: 




Apply 


PSVS: 1 


Copy 


Normal Chiidre Path 






Unborn 1 AJive | Dead 













Particle Instance Modifier Panel - With the Children button highlighted in yellow. 

• Path: 

The Path button tries to make the mesh object that has a Particle Instance Modifier associated 
with it, deform its mesh shape in such a way as to try and match the path travelled by the 
particle/hair strands associated with the mesh object. 



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495 



Particle Instance Modifier 



Options 



Modifiers 



Add Modifier 



To: 



V 


Farti* Instance [UFFini O ©0 X 










Ob: 


Apply 


i PSVS: 1 


Copy 


NormaJ 


Childre Path 




Unborn 


^ive 1 Dead | 











m 

Particle Instance Modifier Panel - With the Path button highlighted in yellow. 

For example, shown below is a screen shot showing the path of a single Keyed Particle as it 
travels its way through each of the different way points 1 through 4 (Target Particle Systems), 
when it reaches way point 4 the particle dies and ends its journey. 



w^mm 




Keyed Particle Following way points showing 1 particle. 

The Blend file for the example Render above can be obtained here: 

Media:Manual - Particle Instance Modifier - Keyed Particle Example 1. blend 

When a Particle Instance Modifier is added to a cylinder object and then associated with the 
way point 1 particle system, the particle position is copied by the cylinder and placed at the 
particles position. So the mesh object follows the location of the particle. The cylinder does 
not alter any of its other properties when following the particle, only the cylinders location 
gets altered, shape and rotation do not get altered. See screenshot below: 



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496 



Particle Instance Modifier 



Options 




Keyed Particle Following way points showing a mesh object (Particle Instance Modifier) in place of the 
original particle. 

The Blend file for the example Render above can be obtained here: 

Media:Manual - Particle Instance Modifier - Keyed Particle Example 2.blend 

Both of the above examples had the Particle Instance Modifier Path button deactivated. 

When the Path button is activated the effect can be seen in the screenshot below: 



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497 



Particle Instance Modifier 



Options 







Keyed Particle Following way points showing a mesh object (Particle Instance Modifier) in place of the 
original particle, that is also being deformed to fit the travel path of the original particle. 

The Blend file for the example Render above can be obtained here: 

Media:Manual - Particle Instance Modifier - Keyed Particle Example 3.blend 

Instead of the cylinder location just following the position of the particle (and not altering its 
shape), the cylinder tries to fit its mesh to the shape of the path followed by the particle. 

The mesh geometry of the object which is trying to deform can have an impact on how well 
the deformation is carried out. In the case of the cylinder, it has many loop cuts along its 
length so that it can bend at those points to deform along the particle path. 

For example here is the same scene with the number of loop cuts along the length of the 
cylinder reduced, showing the effect on the deformation of the cylinder along the particle 
path. 





The Cylinder has most of its edge loops so most of the Path The Cylinder has some of its edge loops 



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498 



Particle Instance Modifier 



Options 



deform is very regular apart from at the very end of the 
curve. 



removed so the Path of the deform starts to 
become less regular. 





Now the deform Path is very rough. 



At this point there arn't any vertices to bend the 
Cylinder to follow the Path and instead the 
Cylinder just goes directly to the last Way Point 
4. 



Once all the extra edge loops around cylinder are removed so that there is only the top and 
bottom vertices left, meaning that the cylinder doesn't have enough geometry to bend, in that 
case it cannot follow the path of the particle, so it just goes from the start Way Point 1 to the 
ending Way Point 4. 

The Particle Instance Modifier Path button control as well as working for Keyed Particles also 
work for Hair (strand) Particles. In this case the mesh of the Particle Instance Modifier will 
follow the length and profile of the hair strands paths. 

Below is a screenshot showing the effect of the Path button on hair. 




Strand with a Particle Instance Modifier associated with it and deforming the Cylinder along the hair profile. 



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499 



Particle Instance Modifier 



Options 



The Blend file for the example Render above can be obtained here: 

Media: Manual - Particle Instance Modifier - Strand Mesh Deform.blend 

Strands when they are generated instantly die when created so for the Path button to be of any 
use, you must also have the Dead button selected so that dead strands are displayed, otherwise 
the path a mesh took will not be visible. 

Note 

Thanks to Soylentgreen For explaining how the Path button works without his help I would still have been 
completely lost on how it works. — Terrywallwork — 6th Nov 2008. 

• Unborn: 

The Unborn button (highlighted in yellow) when selected tells the Particle Instance Modifier 
to draw instances of itself wherever Unborn Particle types will be emitted/used on an 
underlying Particle System, obviously the Particle Instance Modifier has to have been told to 
have an influence on the underlying particle emitting system (by entering the name of the 
object to influence in the Particle Instance Modifiers Ob: field). So if the current Particle 
Instance Modifier is a sphere shape, when Unborn particles are present a sphere will now 
appear as well. 



Modifiers 



|Add Modifier | To: 






^ 


l^arfide Instance 1 LI H-|D 


O ©0 X 












Ob: 




Apply 


PSYS: 1 


Copy 


Normal | Chiidre 


Path 








Unborn Ai\ve 


Dead 













m 



Particle Instance Modifier Panel - With the Unborn button highlighted in yellow. 



• Ahve: 



The Alive button (highlighted in yellow) when selected tells the Particle Instance Modifier to 
draw instances of itself wherever Alive Particle types will be emitted/used on an underlying 
Particle System, obviously the Particle Instance Modifier has to have been told to have an 
influence on the underlying particle emitting system (by entering the name of the object to 
influence in the Particle Instance Modifiers Ob: field). So if the current Particle Instance 
Modifier is a sphere shape, when Alive particles are present a sphere will now appear as well. 



Modifiers 



Add Modifier 




I Partieie instance fappCT Q ©0 X 



Ob: 



< PSYS: 1 ■' 

Normai [ Ctilldre | Path" 



Unborn AJIve Dead 



^Ply 



Copy 



Particle Instance Modifier Panel - With the Alive button highlighted in yellow. 



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500 



Particle Instance Modifier 



Examples 



Dead: 



The Dead button (highlighted in yellow) when selected tells the Particle Instance Modifier to 
draw instances of itself wherever Dead Particle types will occur on an underlying Particle 
System, obviously the Particle Instance Modifier has to have been told to have an influence 
on the underlying particle emitting system (by entering the name of the object to influence in 
the Particle Instance Modifiers Ob: field). So if the current Particle Instance Modifier is a 
sphere shape, when Dead particles are present a sphere will now appear as well. 






Modifiers 



Add Modifier 



To: 



^^ 


Particle Instsirnce (^^^^ 


O 


©©X 










Ob: 




Apply 


< PSVS: 1 > 


Copy 


NormaJ 


Childrel Path 






Unborn 


^ive Dead 













ET 



Particle Instance Modifier Panel - With the Dead button highlighted in yellow. 

Examples 

Examples of Usage and Tutorials here. 



See Also 



Related topics here. 



Previous: Manual/Mirror Modifier 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Smooth Modifier 



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501 



Smooth Modifier 



Smooth IVIodifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.44 

Smooth Modifier 

Mode: Any Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 



Description 

This modifier smooths a mesh by flattening the angles between adjacent faces in it, just like the Smooth 
button in the Editing Context Mesh Tools panel. So it smooths without subdividing the mesh — the number 
of vertices stays the same. 

This modifier is not limited to smoothing, though. Its control factor can be configured outside the [0.0, 1.0] 
range (including negative values), which can result in interesting deformations, depending on the affected 
mesh. 



Options 



Modifiers 



Add Modifier f To: C 


ube 




V 


Smooth a + D 


O 0© X 








H^^B^^I^B 




Apply 




1 Factor: 0.500 




Copy 




Repeat: 1 








VGroup: 



Smooth modifier 



XYZ 



Toggle buttons to enable / disable the modifier in the X, Y, Z axes directions. 



Factor 



The factor to control smoothing amount: The smoothing range is [0.0, 1.0]: 0.0: disable, 0.5: same as 
the Smooth button, 1.0: max. Alternatively, values outside this range (above 1.0 or below 0.0) distort 
the mesh. 



Repeat 



The number of smoothing iterations, equivalent to pressing the Smooth button (link) multiple times. 



VGroup 



A vertex group name, to restrict the effect to the vertices in it only. This allows for selective, realtime 
smoothing, by painting vertex weights. 



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Smooth Modifier 
Examples 



Examples 




Smooth modifier examples. Option "repeat" is set as 5 for all models, but each one has a different "factor" 
value. From left to right: Top (smoothing): 1) normal Suzanne (same as factor: 0.0); 2) Factor: 0.5; 3) 1.0; 4) 
2.0. Bottom (distortion): 1) Factor: -0.3; 2) -0.6; 3) -1.0. The three models at the bottom row were 
subdivided twice to look nicer. 



Previous: Manual/Particle Instance 
Modifier 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Softbodv Modifier 



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Softbody Modifier Softbody IVIodifier 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.46 



Softbody Modifier 



If a mesh has been designated as a Softbody . then the simulation engine will be changing the shape of the 
mesh. When the mesh is designated as a Soft Body, a modifier is inserted in its modifier stack. The location of 
this modifier in the stack is important, since the Softbody shape can be modified before or after by another 
modifier, such as an armature. If the Armature modifier is above the Softbody modifier, the Armature will 
deform the mesh first, and then the Softbody will simulate gravity and mass motion. If reversed, the whole 
mesh will drop first under the Softbody simulation, and then will be moved by the Armature (generally not 
desired). 



Previous: Manual/Smooth Modifier Contents Next: Manual/Subsurf Modifier 



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Subdivision Surfaces 



Subdivision Surfaces 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.45 

Subdivision Surfaces 

Mode: Any Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 (Panel) Shift O (Toggle SubSurf in Object Mode) 



Description 

A Subdivision Surface is a method of subdividing the faces of a mesh to give a smooth appearance, to enable 
modelling of complex smooth surfaces with simple, low-vertex meshes. This allows high resolution Mesh 
modelling without the need to save and maintain huge amounts of data and gives a smooth organic look to the 
object. With any regular Mesh as a starting point. Blender can calculate a smooth subdivision on the fly, while 
modelling or while rendering, using Catmull-Clark Subdivision Surfaces or, in short SubSurf. 



Options 



^^BnffiTfiS^ ^^^^^^^1 


^|Add Modifier | To: Cube 


1 


. 


Subsurf |y|+|0 


o 


Q© X 




t 


Catmull-Clark ' 




AppV/ 


j 


■1 Levels: 2 *■ 


Cm 


* Render Levels: 2 f 






1 


Optimal Draw 


J 



Modifiers panel. 

SubSurf is a Modifier . To add it to a mesh, press Add Modifier and select Subsurf from the list. 

• Levels defines the display resolution, or level of subdivision. 

• Render Levels is the levels used during rendering. This allows you to keep a fast and lightweight 
approximation of your model when interacting with it in 3D, but use a higher quality version when 
rendering. 

• To view and edit the results of the subdivision ("isolines") on the Editing Cage while you're editing 
the mesh, click in the gray circle next to the arrows for moving the modifier up and down the stack. 
This lets you grab the points as they lie in their new subdivided locations, rather than on the original 
mesh. 

• Optimal Draw restricts the wireframe display to only show the original mesh cage edges, rather than 
the subdivided result to help visualisation. 



Hints 

You can use Shift O if you are in ObjectMode to switch Subsurf On or Off. To turn the subsurf view off (to 
reduce lag), press Alt+Shift+0. The Subsurf level can also be controlled via Ctrl 1 to Ctrl 4, but this only 
affects the visualization sub-division level. 



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505 



Subdivision Surfaces Examples 

A SubSurfed Mesh and a NURBS surface have many points in common such as they both rely on a "coarse" 
low-poly "mesh" to define a smooth "high definition" surface, however, there are notable differences: 

• NURBS allow for finer control on the surface, since you can set "weights" independently on each 
control point of the control mesh. On a SubSurfed mesh you cannot act on weights. 

• SubSurfs have a more flexible modelling approach. Since a SubSurf is a mathematical operation 
occurring on a mesh, you can use all the modelling techniques described in this chapter on the mesh. 
There are more techniques, which are far more flexible, than those available for NURBS control 
polygons. 

Since Subsurf computations are performed both real-time, while you model, and at render time, and they are 
CPU intensive, it is usually good practice to keep the SubSurf level low (but non-zero) while modelling; 
higher while rendering. 



Examples 

SubSurfed Suzanne shows a series of pictures showing various different combinations of Subsurf options on a 
Suzanne Mesh. 



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Subdivision Surfaces 



Examples 




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507 



Subdivision Surfaces 



Examples 



SubSurfed Suzanne. 

SubSurf of simple square and triangular faces, shows a 0,1,2,3 level of SubSurf on a single square face or on 
a single triangular face. Such a subdivision is performed, on a generic mesh, for each square or triangular 
face. 

It is evident how each single quadrilateral face produces 4" faces in the SubSurfed mesh, n is the SubSurf 
level, or resolution, while each triangular face produces 34 "~ ' new faces {SubSurf of simple square and 
triangular faces.). This dramatic increase of face (and vertex) number results in a slow-down of all editing, 
and rendering, actions and calls for lower SubSurf level in the editing process than in the rendering one. 




SubSurf of simple square and triangular faces. 

The SubSurf tool allows you to create very good "organic" models, but remember that a regular Mesh with 
square faces, rather than triangular ones, gives the best results. A Gargoyle base mesh (left) and pertinent level 
2 SubSurfed Mesh (right), and Solid view (left) and final rendering (right) of the Gargoyle, show an example 
of what can be done with Blender SubSurfs. 



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508 



Subdivision Surfaces 



Examples 




A Gargoyle base mesh (left) and pertinent level 2 SubSurfed Mesh (right). 



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509 



Subdivision Surfaces 



Limitations & Worl<-arounds 




Solid view (left) and final rendering (right) of the Gargoyle. 



Limitations & Worl<-arounds 



Blender's subdivision system is based on the Catmull-Clark algorithm. This produces nice smooth SubSurf 
meshes but any 'SubSurfed' face, that is, any small face created by the algorithm from a single face of the 
original mesh, shares the normal orientation of that original face. 



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510 



Subdivision Surfaces 



Limitations & Worl<-arounds 



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Side view of subsurfed meshes. With random normals (top) and with coherent normals (bottom) 

This is not an issue for the shape itself, as Side view of subsurfed meshes. With random normals (top) and with 
coherent normals (bottom) shows, but it is an issue in the rendering phase and in solid mode, where abrupt 
normal changes can produce ugly black lines {Solid view of SubSurfed meshes with inconsistent normals (top) 
and consistent normals (bottom).). 




Solid view of SubSurfed meshes with inconsistent normals (top) and consistent normals (bottom). 

Use the Ctrl N command in EditMode, with all vertices selected, to recalculate the normals to point outside. 

In these images the face normals are drawn cyan. You can enable drawing normals in the EditButtons (F9) 
menu. 

Note that Blender cannot recalculate normals correcty if the mesh is not "Manifold". A "Non-Manifold" mesh 
is a mesh for which an 'out' cannot unequivocally be computed. From the Blender point of view, it is a mesh 
where there are edges belonging to more than two faces. 



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511 



Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces 




A "Non-Manifold" mesh 

A "Non-Manifold" mesh shows a very simple example of a "Non-Manifold" mesh. In general a 
"Non-Manifold" mesh occurs when you have internal faces and the like. 

A "Non-Manifold" mesh is not a problem for conventional meshes, but can give rise to ugly artifacts in 
SubSurfed meshes. Also, it does not allow decimation, so it is better to avoid them as much as possible. 

Use these two hints to tell whether a mesh is "Non Manifold": 

• The Recalculation of normals leaves black lines somewhere 

• The "Decimator" tool in the Mesh Panel refuses to work stating that the mesh is "Non Manifold" 



Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces 

Mode: Edit Mode (Mesh) 

Panel: 3D View Transform Properties 

Hotkey: Shift E or N (Transform Properties Panel) 

Menu: Mesh Edges Crease Subsurf 

Description 

Weighted edge creases for subdivision surfaces allows you to change the way Subsurf subdivides the 
geometry to give the edges a smooth or sharp appearance. 



Options 

The crease weight of selected edges can be changed interactively by using Shift E and moving the mouse 
towards or away from the selection. Moving the mouse away from the edge increases the weight. You can 
also use Transform Properties (N) and enter the value directly. A higher value makes the edge "stronger" and 
more resistant to subsurf. Another way to remember it is that the weight refers to the edge's sharpness. Edges 
with a higher weight will be deformed less by subsurf. Recall that the subsurfed shape is a product of all 

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Weighted creases for subdivision surfaces 



Examples 



intersecting edges, so to make the edges of an area sharper, you have to increase the weight of all the 
surrounding edges. 

You can enable an indication of your edge sharpness by enabling Draw Creases. See (Mesh Tools 1 panel). 




Centre 



Hide 



Reveal 



Select Swap 



NSize: 0.100 



Draw Normals 



Transform Properties 



_praw Faces_ 
Draw Edges 



Draw Creases 



Draw Seams 



All Edaes 




Mesh Tools 1 panel 



Examples 

The sharpness value on the edge is indicated as a variation of the brightness on the edge. If the edge has a 
sharpness value of 1.0, the edge will have a brighter color, and if sharpness value is 0.0, the edge will not be 
so bright. 




Edge sharpness 0.0 



Edge sharpness 1.0 



Previous: Manual/Softbodv Modifier 



Contents 



Next: Manual/UVProject Modifier 



If you arrived at this page from either pages "Weight Paint" or "Multi Resolution Mesh" and wish to carry on 
navigating in the order laid out in the Mesh section of the Main Index page use the Navigation bar below: 



Previous: ManualAVeight Paint 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Mul tires 



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513 



UVProject Modifier 



UVProject IVIodifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



UVProject Modifier 

Mode: Any Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 

Description 

Ok, so have you ever seen someone walk in front of the slide projector, and the slide is projected on them as 
they walk in front of it? Well, this modifier does that to the object, using an image (still, movie clip, etc) that 
you specify. 

The UVProject modifier projects a UV-mapped image onto the base mesh as if from a slide projector. It does 
this by altering the base mesh's UV coordinates as though they were projected onto the object by one or more 
projector objects. The projection used is either an orthogonal or perspective projection along the projector 
object's negative Z axis. 

The effect can be limited to just those faces associated with a given image, or all faces can be affected. The 
modifier can also override the image assigned to each face with a given image. 

For the results to be visible in the final render, the base mesh must have a 

• material that uses the affected UV coordinate layer in some way (e.g. by having TexFace enabled). 

• the object must have the named UV Texture active 



Options 



Modifiers 



Add Modifier 




V 


UVProject £i'-|- Cf\ O 0© X 












i: 




Apply 


AspXM.OO AspVM.OO 


Copy 


Projectors: 1 






Ob: Camera 




Image: 


L. 






W ^ 



I 



UVProject modifier 

UV Layer 

Selects the UV coordinate layer to affect. If no UV layers are present, the modifier will be disabled. 

AspX, AspY 

Sets the aspect ratio of the image being projected. 



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514 



UVProject Modifier 



Examples 



Projectors 

The number of projector objects to use (from 1 to 10). An Ob field will be added to the panel for each 
projector. 



Ob 



Image 



A projector object to use. There will be from 1 to 10 of these fields, depending on the value of 
Projectors. For each face, the projector whose projection axis is most perpendicular to that face will 
be used. 

If a projector object is a camera, the projection used will depend on the camera type: 
orthographic projection for orthographic cameras and perspective projection for perspective 
cameras. 
If a projector object is not a camera, the projection will always be orthographic. 



The image to use. 

If Image is empty, all faces are affected 

If Image is not empty, only faces with that image assigned are affected (unless Override 
Image is on; see below) 

Override Image 

This button controls whether to override the current face image with the contents of Image. If 
Override Image is on, all faces will be affected by the modifier, and will have the contents of Image 
assigned to them (if Image is blank, faces will have no image assigned). 



Examples 




!w InuoE I -|lW:DODljpg iljt i| V |ti,Obiei:i Wotli! -| |jjjj |Q =i"'J ii a j ^ Vtat Inwgc | - j IHBtnder Hgu>i 



A swirl image is loaded in the UV/Image Editor and thus known to Blender. A simple scene, shown in the 
middle, has a wall and a sphere with the modifier set to project the swirl from the 35mm (perspective) camera 
onto those two objects. The two objects have the same material as the floor, but their colors are superseded by 
the modifier. As the sphere moves (not shown), the part of the image that it takes moves correspondingly. 
Kinda spooky, if you ask me. 



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515 



UVProject Modifier 



Examples 




A house textured with the UVProject modifier. The cameras scattered around the scene are the projection 
objects. UVProject greatly simphfies this kind of texturing. 
Sample blend file 



Previous: Manual/Subsurf Modifier 



Contents 



Next: ManualAVave Modifier 



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516 



Wave Modifier 



Wave IVIodifier 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 

Wave Modifier 

Mode: Object Mode 

Panel: Editing Context Modifiers 

Hotkey: F9 

Description 

The Wave modifier adds an ocean-like motion to the Z coordinate of the Object Mesh. 



Options 



I Add Modifier I TO: cube 



I ' I ^^W^ I Appl^J I 



HomJEjg 



Time 5tBL Q.QQ 
LiteTime: Ci.CiO 



D5JTip1im&: 10.00 



W: 



Stan: 0.00 I SfastO.OQ 



LoceJ 




Wave Modifier Panel 




Linear Wave Front 




Circular Wave Front 

This panel is found in the Editing buttons, Modifier panel, selecting Wave as the modifier. 

X and Y 

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517 



Wave Modifier Technical Details and Hints 

The Wave effect deforms vertices in the Z direction, and originates from the given starting point and 

propagates along the Mesh with circular wave fronts, or with rectilinear wave fronts, parallel to the X 

or Y axis. This is controlled by the two X and Y toggle buttons. If just one button is pressed fronts are 

linear, if both are pressed fronts are circular. 
Cycl 

Repeats the waves cyclically, rather than a single pulse. 
Normal 

Displaces the mesh along the surface normals. 
Time sta 

The Frame at which the Wave begins (if Speed is positive), or ends (if Speed is negative). Use a 

negative frame number to prime and pre-start the waves. 
Lifetime 

The number of frames in which the effect lasts. O=forever, else frame at which waves stop being 

simulated. 
Damptime 

An additional number of frames in which the wave slowly dampens from the Height value to zero 

after Lifetime is reached. The dampening occurs for all the ripples and begins in the first frame after 

the Lifetime is over. Ripples disappear over Damptime frames. 
Sta X and Sta Y 

The starting points of the waves, in the Mesh object's Local coordinates. 
Ob 

Use an Object as reference for starting position of the wave. Leave blank to disable. 
VGwup 

Vertex group name with which to displace the Object. 
Texture 

Affects the Object's displacement based on a texture. 
Local 

This menu let's you choose the texture's coordinates for displacement. 
Speed 

The speed, in Blender units per frame, of the ripple. 
Height 

The height or amplitude, in Blender units, of the ripple. 
Width 

Half of the width, in Blender units, between the tops of two subsequent ripples (if Cycl is enabled). 

This has an indirect effect on the ripple amplitude - if the pulses are too near to each other, the wave 

may not reach the z=0 position, so in this case Blender actually lowers the whole wave so that the 

minimum is zero and, consequently, the maximum is lower than the expected amplitude. See 

Technical Details below. 
Narrow 

The actual width of each pulse, the higher the value the narrower the pulse. The actual width of the 

area in which the single pulse is apparent is given by 4 divided by the Narrow value. That is, if 

Narrow is 1 the pulse is 4 units wide, and if Narrow is 4 the pulse is 1 unit wide. 

Warning 

All the values described above must be multiplied with the corresponding Scale values of the object to get the 
real dimensions. For example, if the value of Scale Z: is 2 and the value of Height of the waves is 1, it gives 
us final waves with a height of 2BU! 

Technical Details and Hints 

The relationship of the above values is described here: 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 518 



Wave Modifier 



Technical Details and Hints 



2 * Width 




4 / Narrow 



Wave front characteristics 



To obtain a nice wave effect similar to sea waves and close to a sinusoidal wave, make the distance between 
following ripples and the ripple width equal, that is the Narrow value must be equal to 2 divided by the Width 
value. E.g. for Width=l set Narrow to 2. 



Previous: Manual/UVProject Modifier 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Lighting 



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519 



Introduction Introduction 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.4x 



Introduction 

Lighting is a very important topic in rendering, standing equal to modelling, materials and textures. The most 
accurately modelled and textured scene will yield poor results without a proper lighting scheme, while a 
simple model can become very realistic if skilfully lit. Lighting, sadly, is often overlooked by the 
inexperienced artist who commonly believes that, since real world scenes are often lit by a single light (a 
lamp, the sun, etc.) a single light will also do in computer graphics. This is false because in the real world 
even if a single light source is present, the light shed by such a source bounces off objects and is re-irradiated 
all over the scene, making shadows soft and shadowed regions not pitch black, but partially lit. 



Viewing Restrictions 

The color of an object and the lighting of your scene is affected by: 

• Your ability to see different colors (partial color blindness is common) 

• The medium in which you are viewing the image (e.g. an LCD panel versus printed glossy paper) 

• The quality of the image (e.g. a JPEG at 0.4 compression versus 1.0) 

• The environment in which you are viewing the image (e.g. a CRT Monitor with glare versus in a dark 
room, or in a sunshiny blue room) 

• Your brain's perception of the color and intensity relative to those objects around it and the world 
background color. 

So, the exact same image viewed by Person A on monitor B in room C may look very different to Person D 
viewing a printout E of the image while on the subway F. 

Global Influences 

In Blender, the things under your control that affect lighting are: 

• The color of the world ambient light 

• The use o f Ambient Occlusion as a way to cast that ambient light onto the object 

• The degree to which the ambient light colors the material of the object 

• The use o f Radiosity . where the color of one object radiates onto another 

• The render engine used (Blender Internal versus Yafray) 

• The lights in your scene 

The physics of light bouncing around in the real-world is simulated by Ambient Occlusion (a world setting), 
buffer shadows (which approximate shadows being cast by objects), ray tracing (which traces the path of 
photons from a light source). Also, within Blender you can use the Radiosity engine . Ray tracing, ambient 
occlusion, and radiosity are compute-intensive processes. Blender can perform much faster rendering with its 
internal scan line renderer, which is a very good scan line renderer indeed. This kind of rendering engine is 
much faster since it does not try to simulate the real behavior of light, assuming many simplifying hypotheses. 



Lighting Settings 

Only after the above global influences do you get into adding on light from lamps in your scene. The main 
29/01/2009 13.49.52 520 



Introduction 



Lighting in the Workflow 



things under your control are the: 

• Type of light used (sun, spot, lamp, hemi, etc) 

• Color of the light 

• Position of the light and its direction 

• Settings for each of those lights, including energy and dropoff 

Then you are back to how that material's shader reacts to the light. 

This chapter attempts to address the above, including how lights can work together in rigs to light your scene. 
In this chapter we will analyse the different type of lights in Blender and their behavior, we will analyze their 
strong and weak points. We also describe many lighting rigs, including the ever-popular three point light 
method. 



Lighting in the Wori^flow 

In this User Manual we have placed Lighting before Materials; you should set up your lighting before 
assigning materials to your meshes. Since the material shaders react to light, without proper lighting, the 
material shaders will not look right, and you will end up fighting the shader, when it is really the bad lighting 
that is causing you grief. All of the example images in this section do not use any material setting at all on the 
ball, cube or background. 



Over-riding l\/laterials to reset lighting 



If you have started down the road of assigning materials, and are just now fiddling with the lighting, we 
suggest that you create a default, generic grey material; no VCol, no TexFace, no Shadeless, just plain old 
middle grey with an RGB of (0.8,0.8,0.8). If you click the auto-namer button, it should fill in "Grey". Next go 
to Scene context of the Buttons window and find the render buttons. 



^ Panels G S ^ ti U H 



Render Layers 





■ 


















Scene: 


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Mat: field highlighted in yellow. 

You should see there the Render Layers panel. After you have found it, enter "Grey" into the Mat: field. If the 
name sticks, you know you entered it correctly. This will override any materials you may have set, and render 
everything with this flat boring color. Using this material, you can now go about adjusting the lighting. 



Previous: Manual/Wave Modifier 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Lamp Types 



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521 



Lamps 



Lamps 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

Lamps 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Lamp Context Preview 

Hotkey: Shift A to add new, F6 to change settings 

Menu: Add Lamp 

Description 

The appearance of objects in a rendered image is determined by a few things, but mainly the objects' materials 
and light sources. Setting up lamps and lighting a scene is one of the most important parts of getting a good 
render, and Blender provides a range of different lamp types for different purposes. 

Lamps are visualised in the 3D View using a solid dot, surrounding circle, and wire frame of dashed lines. 
Each light source has its own visualisation style, but there are some common indicators available across the 
different lamp types: 

• Shadows 

If shadows are enabled an additional dashed circle is added around the inner, solid circle. This 
allows you to quickly see that this lamp has shadows enabled. 

• Vertical Height Marker 




Screenshot of a default Lamp, showing the Visual Height Marker. 

A dim grey line, that helps locate the light relative to the global X-Y plane. The transparency 
of this line can be adjusted in the theme user preferences, with the Alpha value of the 3D 
View/Lamp item. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



522 



Lamps 



Options 



Options 

Lamps can be added to a scene using the Add menu in the top header, or by using the add menu in the toolbox 
(SpaceAddLamp) or Shift A. 



Lighting Groups 

A material (and thus, all objects using that material) are lit (by default) by all lights in the visible layers, or 
only by a specific group of lights. To limit lighting only by a group of lights, you enter the name of the group 
in the GR: input field for the Material on the Shaders panel (this panel is also where you define how much 
Ambient light the object receives.) 



EV Shaders " MBHIMW 
I Lambert ;irRef 0.800 ^^T 



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CoQkTorr^l Spei: 0.500 WJ- 



HardSO IJ" 



GR: 



Exclusive 



Shadow 



TraShado 



Onl/Shad 



Cubic 



Bias 



TraluO.OO J" 



Mib 0.500 I 



SEias 0.00 J" 



Emit 0.000 h 



LBIas 0.00 



Limit Lighting to Lamps in this Group highlighted in yellow. 

Simply LMB t] this field, and type in the name of the lighting group. Of course, you must have previously 
defined this group of lights. Enable the Exclusive button if you want the hghting group to ONLY light objects 
with this specific material. 



Otiier Options 

If you look farther down the side of the shaders tab, you will see several other buttons. 

• Cubic: 

Uses cubic interpolation of diffuse values for smoother transitions (between light and dark). 

• Bias: 

Eliminates ray-traced shadow errors with the Phong specular shader. 




Without Cubic enabled. With Cubic enabled. 



Animation switching between Non-Cubic and Cubic 
shadowing. You will need a modern, standards 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



523 



Lamps 



Options 



compliant, browser to see the animation. Click to 
View Animation. 



Textures 



In addition to putting out flat, uniform, light, you can assign a texture to affect the color of any lamp. Subtle 
textures add softness, while hard textures can simulate the shade from a tree. These textures are assigned to 
one of 10 channels, and behave exactly like material textures, except that they can only affect the color of the 
light. If the texture color is the same as the lamp color, you could say that the texture affects the intensity of 
the light. 



What the Light Affects 

Every light has a common set of switches that, when enabled, control what the light affects: 



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Lamp panel with the Light affecting options highlighted in yellow. 

• Layer: Only objects that are on the same layer as the light are lit by the light 

• Negative: The light takes away light from the surface, subtracting light and making the surface darker, 
not lighter. 

• No Diffuse: the light does not brighten the color of the surface 

• No Specular: the light does not cause a shine on the surface, and is not used in calculating the 
Material Specular color or highlights on the surface 

Object/Ma te ria I 

Individual lights can also be put into a named group. If you enter the name of this group in the GR: 
field on the Material Shaders panel, then objects with that material will only be lit by lights in group. 

Scene 



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Screenshot showing the render layers panel with the Light: field highlighted in yellow. It is used to 
override which lights are used by the Render for rendering a scene. 

This group name can also be entered in the Light: field in the Scene->Render Layers tab, and then the 
whole scene will only be lit by the lights in that group. 



Previous: Manual/Lighting 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Lamp 



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524 



Lamp 



Lamp 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.46 

Lamp 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Lamp Context 

Hotkey: F5 

Description 




Lamp Light. 

The 'Lamp' lamp is an omni-directional point of light, that is, a point radiating the same amount of light in all 
directions. It's visualised by a plain, circled dot, {Lamp Light). 

Being a point light source, the direction of the light hitting an object's surface is determined by the line joining 
the lamp and the point on the surface of the object itself. Light intensity /energy decays based on (among other 
variables) distance from the Lamp to the object. In other words, surfaces that are further away are darker. 



Options 



m 



g|LA:SpCit 



Dist: 30.00 



Inverse Linea : 



Sphere 



I Energy 1 .000 ■ I 



La/er 



Negative 



No Diffuse 



No Specular 



R 1 .000 



G 1 .000 



B 1 .000 



Lamp Panel 

• Dist: (Distance) 

The Dist: field indicates the number of Blender Units (BU) at which the intensity of the current light 
source will be half of its Intensity. Objects less than the number of BU away from the lamp will get 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



525 



Lamp 



Lamp 



more light, while Objects further away will receive less light. Certain settings and lamp falloff types 
affect how the Dist: field is interpreted, meaning that it will not always react the same. 

• Energy (0.0 - 10.0) 

The Intensity of the light sources illumination. 

• Color 



The color of the light sources illumination. 

• Layer 

Only objects that are on the same layer as the light are lit by the light. 

• Negative 

The light takes away light from the surface, subtracting light and making the surface darker, not 
lighter. 

• No Diffuse 

The light does not brighten the color of the surface. 

• No Specular 

The light does not cause a shine on the surface, and is not used in calculating the Material Specular 
color or highlights on the surface. 

• Sphere 

The Sphere option restricts the lamp's illumination range so that it will instantly stop illuminating past 
an area once it reaches the number of Blender Units away from itself, as specified in the Dist: field. 

An imaginary Sphere (with a radius of the Dist: field) is placed around the light source and it's Hght is 
blocked from passing through the Sphere walls. So the Dist: field now basically means that any light 
that is further away form its light source than the value in the Dist: field will be Attenuated to after 
this point, and won't naturally attenuate but instantly stop. 





Screenshot showing the light Attenuation of a Constant 
Falloff light type with the Sphere option active. 



Screenshot showing the light 
Attenuation of a Constant Falloff light 
type with the Sphere option 
Deactivated. 



When the Sphere option is active, a dotted Sphere will appear around the light source, indicating the 
demarcation point at which this lights propagation will cease, example below: 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



526 



Lamp 



Lamp 




Screenshot of the 3D view window, showing the Sphere light clipping circle. 

Lamp Falloff 

The Lamp Falloff field has been improved in Blender 2.46 so the layout of the Lamp panel is different 
in a number of ways. One of the changes is the Lamp Falloff drop down menu. The Lamp Falloff 
types are listed and described below: 

Lin/Quad Weight 

This Lamp Falloff is described in the Blender 2.46 release notes as follows: 
"Exactly the same as in older Blenders with the old 'Quad' button enabled. When this setting is 
chosen, two sliders are shown, 'Linear' and 'Quad' (previously Quadl and Quad2), which controls the 
'linearness' or 'quadraticness' of the falloff curve. Lamps in old files with the 'Quad' button on will be 
initialised to this setting." 




Lamp Panel with Lamp Falloff type Lin/Quad Weighted selected and the Quad and Linear slider also 
highlighted in yellow also. 

So it looks as if the Lin/Quad Weighted Lamp Falloff type is in effect allowing the mixing of the 2 
Light Attenuation profiles (Linear Attenuation type and Quadratic Attenuation type). 

Here is a screenshot of the Lin/Quad Weighted light with default settings: 




Screenshot showing the Lin/Quad Weighted Lamp Falloff type effect with default settings. 

Linear 
This slider/numeric input field, can have a value between and 1 . A value of 1 in the Linear 
field and in the Quad field, in effect means that the light from this source is completely 
Linear. Meaning that by the number of Blender Units distance specified in the Dist: field, this 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 



527 



Lamp Lamp 

light sources Intensity will be half the value it was when it reaches the number of Blender 
Units distance specified in the Dist: field. 

In the situation just described the Linear Falloff type is being completely respected, it has the 
Intensity value it should have (half Intensity) by the time it reaches the distance specified in 
the Dist: field. 

When the Quad slider is set to the formula for working out the Attenuation at a particular 
range for Linear Attenuation is, in effect: 

I = E*(D/(D + Qi *R)) 

Where E is the current Energy slider setting. 

Where D is the current setting of the Dist: field. 

Where Qi is the current setting of the Linear slider. 

Where R is the distance from the lamp where the light Intensity gets measured. 

Where I is the calculated Intensity of light. 

OQuad 
Quad (Quadratic) Attenuation type lighting is considered a more accurate representation of 
how light Attenuates, and as such when the Lin/Quad Weighted Lamp Fallout type is 
selected. Fully Quadratic Attenuation is selected by default (that is the Quad slider field is 1 
and the Linear slider field is 0). 

This slider/numeric input field, can have a value between and 1 . A value of 1 in the Quad 
field and in the Linear field, in effect means that the light from this source is completely 
Quadratic (Quad type). 

In the situation just described the Quad Falloff type is being completely respected so it has the 
Intensity value it should have (half intensity) by the time it reaches the distance specified in 
the Dist: field. After the light has reached the distance in the Dist: field, the light decays much 
more quickly. 

One of the characteristics of Quadratic Light Attenuation is that at first it gradually Attenuates 
and then at a certain point starts to Attenuate at a much faster rate. The faster rate stage of 
Attenuation is roughly entered when the distance from the light is more than the value in the 
Dist: field. 

When the Linear slider is set to the formula for working out the attenuation at a particular 
range for Quadratic attenuation is, in effect: 

I = E*(D^/(D^ + Q2 *R^)) 

Where E is the current Energy slider setting. 

Where D is the current setting of the Dist: field. 

Where Q2 is the current setting of the Quad slider. 

Where R is the distance from the lamp where the light Intensity gets measured. 

Where I is the calculated Intensity of light. 

Light Attenuation profile when both Linear and Quad sliders have values greater than 
If both the Linear and Quad slider fields have values greater than 0, then the formula used to 
calculate the Light Attenuation profile changes to this: 

I = E * (D / (D + Qi * R)) * (D^ / (D^ + Q, * R^)) 
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Lamp 



Where E is the current Energy slider setting. 

Where D is the current setting of the Dist: field. 

Where Q i is the current setting of the Linear slider. 

Where Q2 is the current setting of the Quad slider. 

Where R is the distance from the lamp where the light Intensity gets measured. 

Where I is the calculated Intensity of light. 

No Light Attenuation when both Linear and Quad sliders have values of 0. 
If both the Linear and Quad sliders have as their values. Then their light Intensity will not 
Attenuate with distance. This does not mean that the light will not get darker, it will, but only 
because the Energy the light has is spread out over a wider and wider distance. The total 
amount of Energy in the spread out light will remain the same though. Light angle also affects 
the amount of light you see. If what you want is a light source that doesn't attenuate and gives 
the same amount of light Intensity to each area it hits you need a light with properties like the 
Constant Lamp Falloff type. 

Also when the Linear and Quad sliders are both values the Dist: field ceases to have any 
visible effect on the Light Attenuation. 

Custom Curve 

The Custom Curve Lamp Falloff type became available in Blender 2.46 and is very flexible. 



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Lamp Panel with Lamp Falloff type Custom Curve selected and highlighted in Yellow. Also shown is the 
Falloff Curve tab that is created (also highlighted in Yellow) when Custom Curve falloff type is in effect. 

Most other Lamp Falloff types work by having their light Intensity start at its maximum (when nearest 
to the Light source) and then with some predetermined pattern decrease their light Intensity when the 
Distance from the light source gets further away. 

When using the Custom Curve Lamp Falloff type, a new panel is created called "Falloff Curve" 
shown below: 



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Falloff Curve panel used to control the amount of Light Attenuation a light has in an arbitrary manner. 

This Falloff Curve Profile Graph, allows the user to alter how Intense light is at a particular point 
along a lights Attenuation Profile. 



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Lamp 



In the example above (the default for the Falloff Curve Profile Graph), the Graph shows that the 
Intensity of the light starts off at the maximum Intensity that the light can have (when near the light) 
and linearly Attenuates the light Intensity as it moves to the right (further away from the light source). 

So if the user wanted to have a Light Attenuation Profile that got more Intense as it moved away from 
the light source, the user could alter the Light Attenuation Profile Graph as needed. Below is an 
example of a Falloff Curve Profile Graph, showing just such a situation: 



Falloff Curve for reversed Attenuation. 




Falloff Curve for reversed Attenuation rendered. 



You are not just limited to simple changes such as light reversing the Attenuation profile, you can 
have almost any Attenuation profile you desire. 

The Falloff Curve Profile Graph has 2 axis, the Intensity axis and the Distance axis, labelled Intensity 
and Distance in the pictures shown (although these labels were added to make describing how the 
Falloff Curve Profile Graph works, easier, they don't appear in Blender). 

The Distance axis represents the position at a particular point along a light sources Attenuation path. 
The far left being at the the position of the light source and the far right being the place where the 
light sources influence would normally be completely Attenuated. I say normally would because the 
Falloff Curve can be altered to do the exact opposite if required. 

The Intensity axis represents the Intensity at a particular point along a light sources Attenuation path. 
Higher Intensity is represented by being higher up the Intensity axis while lower Intensity light is 
represented by being lower down on the Intensity axis. 

Here is another example of different Falloff Curve Profile Graph, along with its resultant render 
output: 




Falloff Curve Profile Graph resulting in Oscillating 
Attenuation pattern in Light. 




Render showing the affect of the Falloff Curve Profile 
Graph on the Attenuation. 



Altering the Falloff Curve Profile Graph is easy. Just LMB ^-' on a part of the graph you want to alter 
and drag it where you want it to be. If when you click you are over or near one of the tiny black 



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Lamp 



square handles, it will turn white indicating that this is the handle that is now selected and you will be 
able to drag it to a new position. If when you click on the graph you are not near a handle, one will be 
created at the point that you clicked, which you can then drag where you wish. 

Inverse Square 

This Lamp Fallout type Attenuates its Intensity according to inverse square law, scaled by the 'Dist:' 
value. Inverse square is a sharper, realistic decay, useful for lighting such as desk lamps and street 
lights. This is similar to the old Quad option with slight changes. 




Screenshot showing the Inverse Square Lamp Falloff type effect with default settings. 

• Inverse Linear 

This Lamp Fallout type Attenuates its Intensity linearly, scaled by the 'Dist' value. This is the default 
setting, behaving the same as the default in previous Blender versions without 'Quad' switched on. 
This isn't physically accurate, but can be easier to light with. 




Screenshot showing the Inverse Linear Lamp Falloff type effect with default settings. 

• Constant 

This Lamp Fallout type does not Attenuate its Intensity with distance. This is useful for distant light 
sources like the sun or sky, which are so far away that their falloff isn't noticeable. Sun and Hemi 
lamps always have constant falloff. 




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Lamp Shadow and Spot Panel for Lamp and Sun light sources 

m 

Screenshot showing the Constant Lamp Fallofftype effect with default settings. 

Shadow and Spot Panel for Lamp and Sun light sources 

When a Lamp or Sun light source are selected the Spot and Shadow Panel has the following default layout: 



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The Shadow and Spot Panel when Lamp or Sun light sources are selected. 



Options 

• Ray Shadow 

The Ray Shadow button enables the Lamp and Sun light sources to generate Ray Traced Shadows. 

When the Ray Shadow button is selected, another set of options is made available, those options 
being: 

Shadow Sample Generator Type - Constant QMC 

The Constant QMC method is used to calculate shadow values in a very uniform, evenly 
distributed way. This method results in very good calculation of shadow value but it is not as 
fast as using the Adaptive QMC method, however Constant GMC is more accurate. 

Shadow Sample Generator Type - Adaptive QMC 

The Adaptive QMC method is used to calculate shadow values in a slightly less uniform and 
distributed way. This method results in good calculation of shadow value but not as good as 
Constant QMC. The advantage of using Adaptive QMC is that it in general is much quicker 
while being not much worse than Constant QMC in terms of overall results. 

Samples 
This Numerical slider field set the maximum number of samples that both Constant QMC and 
Adaptive QMC will use to do their shadow calculations. The maximum number of samples 
that can be taken is 16. According to the tooltip information that appears when over this field 
the sample value is squared so setting a sample value of 3 really means 3 samples will be 
taken. 

Soft Size 
The Soft Size numeric slider, determines the size of the fuzzy/diffuse/penumbra area around 
the edge of a shadow. Soft Size only determines the width of the soft shadow size not how 
graduated and smooth the shadow is. If you want a wide shadow which is also soft and finely 
graduated you must also set the number of Samples in the Samples field higher than 1, 

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Lamp 



Shadow and Spot Panel for Lamp and Sun light sources 



otherwise this field has no visible effect and the shadows generated will not have a soft edge. 
The maximum value for Soft Size is 100 (Blender Units?). 




Above is a table of renders with different Soft Size and Sample settings showing the effect of 
various values on the softness of shadow edges. 

Below is an Animated version of the above table of images showing the effects: 



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Lamp 



What is Quasi-Monte Carlo? 




You may need to click on the Image to see the Animation. 

Threshold 
The Threshold field is used with the Adaptive GMC shadow calculation method. The value in 
the Threshold field is used to determine if Adaptive GMC shadow sample calculation can 
skipped based on a threshold of how shadowed an area is already. The maximum Threshold 
value is 1 . 

Only Shadow 

When the Only Shadow button is selected the light source will not illuminate an object but will 
generate the shadows that would normally appear. 

This feature is often used to control how and where shadows fall by having a light which illuminates 
but has no shadow, combined with a second light which doesn't illuminate but has Only Shadow 
enabled, allowing the user to control shadow placement by moving the Shadow Only light around. 



What is Quasi-Monte Carlo? 

The Monte Carlo method is a method of taking a series of samples/readings of values (any kind of values, 
such as light values, color values, reflective states) in or around an area at random, so as to determine the 
correct actions to take in certain calculations which usually require multiple sample values to determine 
overall accuracy, of those calculations. The Monte Carlo methods tries to be as random as possible, this can 
often cause areas that are being sampled to have large irregular gaps in them (places that are not 
sampled/read), this in turn can cause problems for certain calculations (such as shadow calculation). 

The solution to this was the Quasi-Monte Carlo method. 

The Quasi-Monte Carlo method is also random, but tries to make sure that the samples/readings it takes are 
also better distributed (leaving less irregular gaps in its sample areas) and more evenly spread across an area. 
This has the advantage of sometimes leading to more accurate calculations based on samples/reading. 

Note 



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Lamp 



Examples 



Everything above this point it an update to reflect the state of things as of Blender 2.46, it could all be wrong 
or out of date for Blender 2.47, if you want me to change it let me know and I will, or edit it yourself. — 
Terrywallwork — 6th September 2008 



Examples 




Render example. 

Notice in {Render example) that the light is gradually diminishing for each sphere that is farther away from 
the light source as compared to the Sun render example where the light's intensity was constant (i.e. never 
faded with distance). 



Distance 

In this example, the Lamp has been set pretty close to the group of planes. This causes the light to affect the 
front, middle and rear planes more dramatically. Looking at {Various Distance settings) you can see that as 
the Dist is increased more and more objects are becoming progressively brighter. 




Dist: 10 



Dist: 100 



Dist: 1000 



"Various Distance settings" , Shadow disabled. 

The Dist: parameter is controlling where the light is falling — at a linear rate — to 1/2 its original value from 
the light's origin. As you increase or decrease this value you are changing where this 1/2 falloff occurs. You 
could think of Dist: as the surface of a sphere and the surface is where the light's intensity has fallen to 1/2 its 
strength, in all directions. Note that the light's intensity continues to fall even after Dist:. Dist: just specifies 
the distance where 1/2 of the light's energy has weakened. 

Notice in {Dist: 1000) that the farthest objects are very bright. This is because the falloff has been extended 
far into the distance which means the light is very strong when it hits the last few objects. It is not until 1000 
units that the light's intensity has fallen to 1/2 its original intensity. 

Contrast this with {Dist: 10) where the falloff occurs so soon that the farther objects are barely lit. The light's 
intensity has fallen by 1/2 by time it even reaches the 10th object. 



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Examples 



You may be wondering, why the first few planes appear to be dimmer? This is because the surface angle 
between the light and the object's surface normal are getting close to oblique. That is the nature of a Lamp 
light object. By moving the light infinitely far away you would begin to approach the characteristics of the 
Sun lamp type. 



Quad 

Quad makes the light's intensity falloff with a non-linear rate, or specifically, quadratic rate. The 
characteristic feature of using "Quad" is that the light's intensity begins to fall off very slowly but then starts 
falling off very rapidly. We can see this in the (Quad enabled) images. 




Quad with 10 



Quad with 100 



Quad with 1000 



Quad enabled with the specified distances. 

With Quad enabled the "Dist:" field is specifying where the light begins to fall faster, roughly speaking, see 
Technical Details for more info. 

In {Quad with 10) the light's intensity has fallen so quickly that the last few objects aren't even lit. 

Both {Quad with 100) and {Quad with 1000) appear to be almost identical and that is because the Distance is 
set beyond the farthest object's distance which is at -40 units out. Hence, all the objects get almost the full 
intensity of the light. 

As with Dist the first few objects are dimmer than farther objects because they are very close to the light. 
Remember, the brightness of an object's surface is also based on the angle between the surface normal of an 
object and the ray of light coming from the lamp. 

This means there are at least two things that are controlling the surface's brightness: intensity and the angle 
between the light source and the surface's normal. 



Sphere 




Clipping Sphere 



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Lamp 



Hints 



Sphere controls where the light's intensity is clipped/clamped off. All light rays stop at the surface of the 
sphere regardless of the light's falloff. In (Clipping Sphere) you can see a side view example of the setup with 
Sphere enabled and a distance of 10. 

Any objects beyond the sphere receive no light from the lamp. 

The Dist: field is now specifying both where the light's rays stop and the intensity's ratio falloff setting. The 
only difference is that now light abruptly stops at sphere's surface regardless of the light's intensity. 




Sphere with 10 



Sphere with 20 



Sphere with 40 



Sphere enabled with the specified distances, Quad disabled. 

In {Sphere with 10) the clipping sphere's radius is 10 units which means the light's intensity is also being 
controlled by 10 units of distance. With Quad disabled the light's intensity has fallen very low even before it 
gets to the first object. 

In {Sphere with 20) the clipping sphere's radius is now 20 units and some light is reaching the middle objects, 
but no light is going beyond the clipping sphere even if the light still has energy left. 

In {Sphere with 40) the clipping sphere's radius is now 40 units which is beyond the last object. However, the 
light doesn't make it to the last few objects because the intensity has fallen to 0. The light's intensity has faded 
before it was clipped by the sphere. 



Hints 

If the Lamp light is set to not cast shadows it illuminates through walls and the like. If you want to achieve 
some nice effects like a fire, or a candle-lit room interior seen from outside a window, the Sphere option is a 
must. By carefully working on the Distance value you can make your warm firelight shed only within the 
room, while illuminating outside with a cool moonlight, the latter achieved with a Sun or Hemi light or both. 



Technical Details 

The effect of the Distance parameter is very evident, while the effect of the Quad button is more subtle. In any 
case the absence of shadows is still a major issue. As a matter of fact only the first plane should be lit, because 
all the others should fall in the shadow of the first. 

For the Math enthusiasts, and for those desiring deeper insight, the laws governing the decay are the 
following. Let D be the value of the Distance Numeric Button, E the value of the Energy slider and r the 
distance from the Lamp to the point where the light intensity / is to be computed. 

If Quad and Sphere buttons are off: 

I=Ex(D/(D + r)) 



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537 



Lamp Hints 

It is evident what affirmed before: That the light intensity equals half the energy for r = D. 

If Quad Button is on: 

I=Ex(D/(D + Qir))x fD' / (D' + g, r')) 

This is a little more complex and depends from the Quadl (Qi) and Quad2 (Q2) slider values. Nevertheless it 
is apparent how the decay is fully linear for 

Qi = 1, Qi = 

and fully quadratic for 

Qi=0,Q2 = l 

this latter being the default. Interestingly enough if 

Qj = Q2 = 

then light intensity does not decay at all. If the Sphere button is on the above computed light intensity / is 
further modified by multiplication by the term which has a linear progression for r from to D and is 
identically otherwise. 

If the Quad button is off and the Sphere button is on: 

Is = Ex(D/(D + r))x ((D - r)/D)ifr< D; otherwise 

If both Quad and Sphere buttons are on: 

Is = Ex(D/(D + Q, r)) x fD' /fD' + Q2 f )) x ((D - r)/D)ifr< D; otherwise 

Might be helpful in understanding these behaviours graphically. 




3Q 40 50 60 

Diatence from light source f 



Light decays: a) Blender default linear; b) Blender default quadratic with Quadl=0, Quad2=l; c) Blender 
quadratic with Quadl=Quad2=0.5; d) Blender quadratic with Quadl =Quad2=0. Also shown in the graph the 



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Lamp See Also 

same curves, in the same colours, but with the Sphere button turned on. 

See Also 

Place related links here. 



Previous: Manual/Lamp Types Contents Next: Manual/Spot Lamp 



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Spot Lamp 



Spot Lamp 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.48 

Spot Lamp 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Lamp Context 

Hotkey: F5 

Description 




Spot Lamp 

A Spot lamp emits a cone shaped beam of light from the tip of the cone, in a given direction. 

The Spot light is the most complex of the light objects and indeed, for a long time, among the most used 
thanks to the fact that it was the only one able to cast shadows. Today, with the integration of a ray tracer 
within the internal render engine of Blender, all lamps can cast shadows (except Hemi). Even so. Spot lamps' 
shadow buffers are much faster to render than raytraced shadows, especially when blurred/softened, and spot 
lamps also provide other functionality such as 'volumetric' halos. 

Options 



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Sphere 



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Layer 



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No Diffuse 



R 1 .000 



G 1 .000 



B 1 .000 



No Specular | 



Lamp Panel 

• Dist: (Distance) 



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Spot Lamp 



The Dist: field indicates the number of Blender Units (BU) at which the intensity of the current light 
source will be half of its Intensity. Objects less than the number of BU away from the lamp will get 
more light, while Objects further away will receive less light. Certain settings and lamp falloff types 
affect how the Dist: field is interpreted, meaning that it will not always react the same. 

Changing the Dist: field value when using a Spotlight also changes the appearance of the Spotlight as 
displayed in the 3D Viewport. 





Spotlight with Dist value of 20 Spotlight with Dist value of 10 

• Energy (0.0- 10.0) 

The Intensity of the light sources illumination. 

• Color 

The color of the light sources illumination. 

• Layer 

Only objects that are on the same layer as the light are lit by the light. 

• Negative 

The light takes away light from the surface, subtracting light and making the surface darker, not 
lighter. 

• No Diffuse 

The light does not brighten the color of the surface. 

• No Specular 

The light does not cause a shine on the surface, and is not used in calculating the Material Specular 
color or highlights on the surface. 

• Sphere 

The Sphere option restricts the Spotlights illumination range so that it will instantly stop illuminating 
past an area once it reaches the number of Blender Units away from itself, as specified in the Dist: 
field. 

An imaginary Sphere (with a radius of the Dist: field) is placed around the Spotlight source and it's 
light is blocked from passing through the Sphere walls. So the Dist: field now basically means that 
any light that is further away form its light source than the value in the Dist: field will be Attenuated 



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541 



Spot Lamp 



Spot Lamp 



to after this point, and won't naturally attenuate but instantly stop. 




Screenshot showing the light Attenuation of a Constant 
Falloff light type with the Sphere option active. 




Screenshot showing the light 
Attenuation of a Constant Falloff light 
type with the Sphere option 
Deactivated. 



When the Sphere option is active, an imaginary Sphere will be projected around the light source, 
indicating the demarcation point at which this lights propagation will cease, example below: 




Screenshot of the 3D view window, showing the Sphere light clipping Sphere when using a Spotlight. 

• Lamp Falloff 

The Lamp Falloff field has been improved in Blender 2.46 so the layout of the Lamp panel is different 
in a number of ways. One of the changes is the Lamp Falloff drop down menu. The Lamp Falloff 
types are listed and described below: 

• Lin/Quad Weight 

This Lamp Falloff is described in the Blender 2.46 release notes as follows: 
"Exactly the same as in older Blenders with the old 'Quad' button enabled. When this setting is 
chosen, two shders are shown, 'Linear' and 'Quad' (previously Quadl and Quad2), which controls the 
'linearness' or 'quadraticness' of the falloff curve. Lamps in old files with the 'Quad' button on will be 
initialised to this setting." 



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Lamp Panel with Lamp Falloff type Lin/Quad Weighted selected and the Quad and Linear slider also 
highlighted in yellow also. 



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542 



Spot Lamp Spot Lamp 

So it looks as if the Lin/Quad Weighted Lamp Falloff type is in effect allowing the mixing of the 2 
Light Attenuation profiles (Linear Attenuation type and Quadratic Attenuation type). 

Here is a screenshot of the Lin/Quad Weighted light with default settings: 



Screenshot showing the Lin/Quad Weighted Lamp Falloff type effect with default settings. 

Linear 
This slider/numeric input field, can have a value between and 1 . A value of 1 in the Linear 
field and in the Quad field, in effect means that the light from this source is completely 
Linear. Meaning that by the number of Blender Units distance specified in the Dist: field, this 
light sources Intensity will be half the value it was when it reaches the number of Blender 
Units distance specified in the Dist: field. 

In the situation just described the Linear Falloff type is being completely respected, it has the 
Intensity value it should have (half Intensity) by the time it reaches the distance specified in 
the Dist: field. 

When the Quad slider is set to the formula for working out the Attenuation at a particular 
range for Linear Attenuation is, in effect: 

I = E*(D/(D + Qi *R)) 

Where E is the current Energy slider setting. 

Where D is the current setting of the Dist: field. 

Where Qi is the current setting of the Linear slider. 

Where R is the distance from the lamp where the light Intensity gets measured. 

Where I is the calculated Intensity of light. 

OQuad 
Quad (Quadratic) Attenuation type lighting is considered a more accurate representation of 
how light Attenuates, and as such when the Lin/Quad Weighted Lamp Fallout type is 
selected. Fully Quadratic Attenuation is selected by default (that is the Quad slider field is 1 
and the Linear slider field is 0). 

This slider/numeric input field, can have a value between and 1 . A value of 1 in the Quad 
field and in the Linear field, in effect means that the light from this source is completely 
Quadratic (Quad type). 

In the situation just described the Quad Falloff type is being completely respected so it has the 
Intensity value it should have (half intensity) by the time it reaches the distance specified in 
the Dist: field. After the light has reached the distance in the Dist: field, the light decays much 
more quickly. 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 543 



Spot Lamp Spot Lamp 

One of the characteristics of Quadratic Light Attenuation is that at first it gradually Attenuates 
and then at a certain point starts to Attenuate at a much faster rate. The faster rate stage of 
Attenuation is roughly entered when the distance from the light is more than the value in the 
Dist: field. 

When the Linear slider is set to the formula for working out the attenuation at a particular 
range for Quadratic attenuation is, in effect: 

I = E*(D^/(D- + Q2 *R-)) 

Where E is the current Energy slider setting. 

Where D is the current setting of the Dist: field. 

Where Q2 is the current setting of the Quad shder. 

Where R is the distance from the lamp where the light Intensity gets measured. 

Where I is the calculated Intensity of light. 

Light Attenuation profile when both Linear and Quad sliders have values greater than 
If both the Linear and Quad slider fields have values greater than 0, then the formula used to 
calculate the Light Attenuation profile changes to this: 

I = E * (D / (D + Qi * R)) * (D' / (D' + Q2 * R')) 

Where E is the current Energy slider setting. 

Where D is the current setting of the Dist: field. 

Where Qi is the current setting of the Linear slider. 

Where Q2 is the current setting of the Quad slider. 

Where R is the distance from the lamp where the light Intensity gets measured. 

Where I is the calculated Intensity of light. 

No Light Attenuation when both Linear and Quad sliders have values of 0. 
If both the Linear and Quad sliders have as their values. Then their light Intensity will not 
Attenuate with distance. This does not mean that the light will not get darker, it will, but only 
because the Energy the light has is spread out over a wider and wider distance. The total 
amount of Energy in the spread out light will remain the same though. Light angle also affects 
the amount of light you see. If what you want is a light source that doesn't attenuate and gives 
the same amount of light Intensity to each area it hits you need a light with properties like the 
Constant Lamp Falloff type. 

Also when the Linear and Quad sliders are both values the Dist: field ceases to have any 
visible effect on the Light Attenuation. 

• Custom Curve 

The Custom Curve Lamp Falloff type became available in Blender 2.46 and is very flexible. 



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Lamp Panel with Lamp Falloff type Custom Curve selected and highlighted in Yellow. Also shown is the 
Falloff Curve tab that is created (also highlighted in Yellow) when Custom Curve falloff type is in effect. 

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Spot Lamp 



Spot Lamp 



Most other Lamp Falloff types work by having their light Intensity start at its maximum (when nearest 
to the Light source) and then with some predetermined pattern decrease their light Intensity when the 
Distance from the light source gets further away. 

When using the Custom Curve Lamp Falloff type, a new panel is created called "Falloff Curve" 
shown below: 




Falloff Curve panel used to control the amount of Light Attenuation a light has in an arbitrary manner. 

This Falloff Curve Profile Graph, allows the user to alter how Intense light is at a particular point 
along a lights Attenuation Profile. 

In the example above (the default for the Falloff Curve Profile Graph), the Graph shows that the 
Intensity of the light starts off at the maximum Intensity that the light can have (when near the light) 
and linearly Attenuates the light Intensity as it moves to the right (further away from the light source). 

So if the user wanted to have a Light Attenuation Profile that got more Intense as it moved away from 
the light source, the user could alter the Light Attenuation Profile Graph as needed. Below is an 
example of a Falloff Curve Profile Graph, showing just such a situation: 




m 



Falloff Curve for reversed Attenuation. 




Falloff Curve for reversed Attenuation rendered. 



You are not just limited to simple changes such as light reversing the Attenuation profile, you can 
have almost any Attenuation profile you desire. 

The Falloff Curve Profile Graph has 2 axis, the Intensity axis and the Distance axis, labelled Intensity 
and Distance in the pictures shown (although these labels were added to make describing how the 
Falloff Curve Profile Graph works, easier, they don't appear in Blender). 

The Distance axis represents the position at a particular point along a light sources Attenuation path. 
The far left being at the the position of the light source and the far right being the place where the 
light sources influence would normally be completely Attenuated. I say normally would because the 
Falloff Curve can be altered to do the exact opposite if required. 

The Intensity axis represents the Intensity at a particular point along a light sources Attenuation path. 
Higher Intensity is represented by being higher up the Intensity axis while lower Intensity light is 
represented by being lower down on the Intensity axis. 



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Spot Lamp 




Here is another example of different Falloff Curve Profile Graph, along with its resultant render 
output: 



l\ i 



1 1 A I ^ 
! MM 



m 



Falloff Curve Profile Graph resulting in Oscillating 
Attenuation pattern in Light. 




Render showing the affect of the Falloff Curve Profile 
Graph on the Attenuation. 



Altering the Falloff Curve Profile Graph is easy. Just LMB ^-J on a part of the graph you want to alter 
and drag it where you want it to be. If when you click you are over or near one of the tiny black 
square handles, it will turn white indicating that this is the handle that is now selected and you will be 
able to drag it to a new position. If when you click on the graph you are not near a handle, one will be 
created at the point that you clicked, which you can then drag where you wish. 

Inverse Square 

This Lamp Fallout type Attenuates its Intensity according to inverse square law, scaled by the 'Dist:' 
value. Inverse square is a sharper, realistic decay, useful for lighting such as desk lamps and street 
lights. This is similar to the old Quad option with slight changes. 




Screenshot showing the Inverse Square Lamp Falloff type effect with default settings. 

• Inverse Linear 

This Lamp Fallout type Attenuates its Intensity Unearly, scaled by the 'Dist' value. This is the default 
setting, behaving the same as the default in previous Blender versions without 'Quad' switched on. 
This isn't physically accurate, but can be easier to light with. 




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Screenshot showing the Inverse Linear Lamp Falloff type effect with default settings. 

Constant 

This Lamp Fallout type does not Attenuate its Intensity with distance. This is useful for distant light 
sources like the sun or sky, which are so far away that their falloff isn't noticeable. Sun and Hemi 
lamps always have constant falloff. 




Screenshot showing the Constant Lamp Falloff type effect with default settings. 

Shadow & Spot Panel for a Spotlight lighting type 

When a Spolight lighting type is selected the following default layout for the Shadow & Spot Panel is shown: 






[Hifew moo I 



IftDrthMBl lyyuw flMC~ 



a^iAg 



SMtipte. 



HMO I ! • •ff fMB OM: OJOI 



&■ 



The Shadow and Spot Panel when Spoltlight lighting is are selected. 



Options 

• Ray Shadow 

The Ray Shadow button enables the Lamp and Sun light sources to generate Ray Traced Shadows. 

When the Ray Shadow button is selected, another set of options is made available, those options 
being: 

Shadow Sample Generator Type - Constant QMC 

The Constant QMC method is used to calculate shadow values in a very uniform, evenly 
distributed way. This method results in very good calculation of shadow value but it is not as 
fast as using the Adaptive QMC method, however Constant GMC is more accurate. 



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Shadow Sample Generator Type - Adaptive QMC 

The Adaptive QMC method is used to calculate shadow values in a slightly less uniform and 
distributed way. This method results in good calculation of shadow value but not as good as 
Constant QMC. The advantage of using Adaptive QMC is that it in general is much quicker 
while being not much worse than Constant QMC in terms of overall results. 

Samples 
This Numerical slider field set the maximum number of samples that both Constant QMC and 
Adaptive QMC will use to do their shadow calculations. The maximum number of samples 
that can be taken is 16. According to the tooltip information that appears when over this field 

9 

the sample value is squared so setting a sample value of 3 really means 3 samples will be 
taken. 

Soft Size 
The Soft Size numeric slider, determines the size of the fuzzy/diffuse/penumbra area around 
the edge of a shadow. Soft Size only determines the width of the soft shadow size not how 
graduated and smooth the shadow is. If you want a wide shadow which is also soft and finely 
graduated you must also set the number of Samples in the Samples field higher than 1, 
otherwise this field has no visible effect and the shadows generated will not have a soft edge. 
The maximum value for Soft Size is 100 (Blender Units?). 




Above is a table of renders with different Soft Size and Sample settings showing the effect of 



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various values on the softness of shadow edges. 

Below is an Animated version of the above table of images showing the effects: 




You may need to click on the Image to see the Animation. 

Threshold 
The Threshold field is used with the Adaptive GMC shadow calculation method. The value in 
the Threshold field is used to determine if Adaptive GMC shadow sample calculation can 
skipped based on a threshold of how shadowed an area is already. The maximum Threshold 
value is 1 . 

Only Shadow 

When the Only Shadow button is selected the light source will not illuminate an object but will 
generate the shadows that would normally appear. 

This feature is often used to control how and where shadows fall by having a light which illuminates 
but has no shadow, combined with a second light which doesn't illuminate but has Only Shadow 
enabled, allowing the user to control shadow placement by moving the Shadow Only light around. 

SpotSi: 

The SpotSi (SpotSize) Numeric Slider field controls the size of the outer cone of a Spotlight, which 
largely controls the circular area a Spotlights light covers. It does this by altering the Angle from the 
position of the Spotlight to the outer cone of the Spotlight. The SpotSi Numeric Slider field represents 
that Angle. The SpotSi value can be from 1 degree to 180 degrees. 



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SpotSi settings at 45 and 20 Degrees 



SpotBL: 



SpotBL (SpotBLur) Numeric Slider field controls the inner cone of the Spotlight. The SpotBL value 
can be between and 1. The value is proportional and represents that amount of space that the inner 
cone should occupy inside the outer cone (SpotSi). 





3D View of Spotlight with a SpotBL setting of .5 Render of Spotlight with a SpotBL setting of .5 

The inner cone boundary line indicates the point at which light from the Spotlight will start to 
Blur/Soften, before this point the Spotlights light will mostly be full strength. The larger the value of 
the SpotBL the more Blurred/Soft the edges of the Spotlight will be and the smaller the inner cones 
circular area will be (as it starts to Blur/Soften earlier). 

To make the Spotlight have a sharper falloff rate and therefore less Blurred/Soft edges, decrease the 
value of SpotBL. Setting SpotBL to results in very sharp Spotlight edges with almost no soft edge. 

The falloff rate of the Spotlight light is a ratio between the SpotBL and SpotSi values, the larger the 
circular gap between the 2 the more gradual the light fades between SpotBL and SpotSi. 

You can directly control the effective diameter of the Spotlights circle by adjusting the SpotSi 
property or indirectly by adjusting the Dist: property. The gap between SpotBL and SpotSi remains 
constant for changes to Dist:. 



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SpotBL and SpotSi only control the Spotlight cone's softness or falloff, it does not control the 
shadow's softness as shown below. 




Render showing the Soft Edge Spotlighted area and the Sharp/Hard Object Shadow 

Notice in the picture above that the "Object's shadow" is sharp as a result of the raytracing, where as 
the Spotlights edges are soft. It you want other items to cast soft shadows within the Spotlights area 
you will need to alter other settings. 

• Haloint: 

The Haloint (Halo Intensity) Numeric Slider field controls how Intense/Dense the Volumetric effect 
is that is generated from the light source. The Haloint value has a range of between and 5. By 
Default the value of the Haloint Numeric Slider field is ignored because the Halo button is not active. 
To make Haloint have an effect make sure the Halo button is active. The lower the value of the 
Haloint slider the less visible the Volumetric effect is, while higher Haloint values give a much more 
noticeable and dense volumetric effect. 



HdelntO 


Hatoint .100 


• 


^ 


El 


\s 



Light with Haloint 



Light with. 1 Haloint 



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Light with .5 Haloint 



Animation showing the affect of differing Haloint values, click to 
see. 



Blender only simulates Volumetric lighting in Spotlights when using Blenders Internal Renderer. This 
can lead to some strange results for certain combinations of settings for Light Energy and Haloint. 

For example having a Spotlight with or very low light Energy settings but a Very high Haloint 
setting can result in Dark/Black Halos, which would not happen in the real world. Just be aware of 
this possibility when using Halos with Blenders Internal Renderer. 




Dark Halo with low Energy lights 



• Halo: 



The Halo button allows a Spotlight to have a Volumetric effect applied to it. This button must be 
active if the Volumetric effect is to be visible. 

Square: 



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The Square button makes a Spotlight cast a square light area, rather than the default circular one. 




Spotlight with a Square light area. 



• Buf. Shadow 



When the Buf Shadow button is activated, the currently selected Spotlight generates shadows using a 
Shadow Buffer rather than using Raytracing. 




I Onl/Shado | 



Spot Si 75.00 



SpotEIQ.ISQ MJ- 



Halolnt 1 .000 



ShadowBufferSize: 2S80 



Tent Gauss 



Square 



Halo 



Samples: 3 


Halo step: 


Bias: 1 .000 


Soft: 3.00 



I rt I ■ ClipSta: 1 .00 -I ,, \ -CiipEnd: 30.00 



ampieBuffersMv^EflEI 



m 

Shadow and Spot Panel Layout with Buf. Shadow button highlighted in yellow. 

When the Buf Shadow button is activated, various extra options and buttons appear in the Shadow 
and Spot panel. 

A description of most of these options are listed below: 

ShadowBufferSize 

The ShadowBufferSize Numeric Slider field can have a value from 512 to 10240. 
ShadowBufferSize represents the resolution used to create a Shadow Map. The Shadow Map 
is then used to determine where shadows lay within a scene. 

As an example, if you have a ShadowBufferSize with a value of 1024, you are indicating that 



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the shadow data will be written to a buffer which will have a square resolution of 1024 
pixels/samples by 1024 pixels/samples from the selected Spotlight. 

The higher the value of ShadowBufferSize, the higher resolution and accuracy of the resultant 
shadows, assuming all other properties of the light and Scene are the same, although more 
memory and processing time would be used. The reverse is also true if the ShadowBufferSize 
value is lowered, the resultant shadows can be of lower quality, but would use less memory 
and take less processing time to calculate.. 




The pictures above show the affect of different ShadowBufferSize values on the quality of 
shadows. In the above, the filtering has been turned off (Sample value set to 1) from the 
shadow generation, to make it easier to see the quality degradation of the shadows. 

As well as the ShadowBufferSize value affecting the quality of generated shadows, another 
property of Spotlights that affect the quality of its buffer shadows is the size of the spotlights 
hghted area (the SpotSi value). 

Below are some examples of generated buffer shadows with identical ShadowBufferSize 
values, but different SpotSi values. 




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As the SpotSi value is increased it can be seen that the quality of the cast shadows degrade. 

This happens because when the Spotlights lighted area is made larger (by increasing SpotSi) 
the shadow buffer area of the Spotlight would have to be stretched and scaled to fit the size of 
the new light area. The ShadowBufferSize resolution was not altered to compensate for the 
change in size of the Spotlight so the quality of the shadows degrade. If you wanted to keep 
the generated shadows the same quality, as you increased the SpotSi value you would also 
need to increase the ShaodwBufferSize value. 

The above basically boils down to: 

If you have a spotlight that is large you will need to have a larger ShadowBufferSize to keep 
the shadows good quality. The reverse is true also, if you have a Spotlight which covers a 
smaller area then the quality of the generated shadows will usually improve (up to a point) as 
the Spotlight covers a smaller area. 



OB 



ox 



The Box button indicates that shadows generated by buffer ahadow methods will be 
Anti- Aliased using a Box filtering method. 

This is the original filter used in Blender. It is relatively low quality and used for low 
resolution renders. It produces very sharp Anti-Aliasing. When this filter is used it only takes 
into account oversampling data which falls within a single pixel and doesn't take into account 
surrounding pixel samples. It is often useful for images which have sharply angled elements 
that go up/down/left/right (according to http://arkavision.com/7page id=125) . 




The Tent button indicates that shadows generated by buffer shadow methods will be 
Anti-Aliased using a Tent filtering method. It is a simple filter that gives sharp results. It is 
an excellent general purpose filtering method. This filter also takes into account the sample 



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values of neighbouring pixels when calculating its final filtering value. 




Gauss 

The Gauss button indicates that shadows generated by buffer shadow methods will be 
Anti- Aliased using a Gaussian filtering method. It has a very soft/blurry Anti- Aliasing 
result. As as result this filter is excellent with high resolution renders. 




More Information on Filtering Methods? 

The following links will give more information on the various Filtering/Distribution methods 
and their uses: 

Manual/Oversampling (Antialiasing') 

http://arkavision.com/7page id=125 

Samples 

The Samples Numeric Slider field can have a value between 1 and 16. It controls the number 
of samples taken per pixel when calculating shadow maps. 

The higher this value the more filtered, smoothed and Anti- Aliased the resultant shadows 
will be that are generated from the selected light, but the longer they will take to calculate and 
the more memory will be used. The Anti- Aliasing method used is determined by having one 
of the Box, Tent or Gauss buttons activated. 



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As shown above, as the Sample numbers increase the more the edge of shadows become less 
Aliased/Jaggied. Having a Sample value of 1, is similar to turning off Anti-AUasing for 
Buffer Shadows. 

OSoft 

The Soft Numeric Value Slider field can have a value between 1 and 100. The Soft value 
indicate how wide an area is sampled when doing Anti-Aliasing on buffered shadows. The 
larger the Soft value the more graduated/soft the area that is Anti- Aliased/softened on the 
edge of generated shadows. 




Above it can be seen that as the Soft size value rises, the softness of the blending of the 



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shadow edges is more gradated. The blocky Aliasing is exaggerated by altering SpotSi and 
ShadowBufferSize values in the examples to more easily show the effect of the Soft field. 

OBias 

The Bias Numeric Slider field can have a value between 0.001 and 5. Bias is used to add a 
slight offset distance between an Object and the Shadows cast by it. This is sometimes 
required because of inaccuracies in the calculation which determines weather an area of an 
Object is in shadow or not. Making the Bias value smaller results in the distance between the 
Object and its shadow being smaller. If the Bias value is too small an Object can get artefacts 
which can appear as lines and interference patterns on Objects. When this happens it is 
usually called "Self Shadowing" and can usually be fixed by increasing the Bias value to 
prevent self shadowing. Other methods for correcting self shadowing include increasing the 
size of the ShadowBufferSize or using a different buffer shadow calculation method such as 
Classic-Halfway or Irregular. 




The images above show the affect of different Bias values. With a Bias of 0.001 the scene is 
full of Self Shadowing interference, but the shadow coming from the back of the sphere is 
very close to the Sphere. With Bias at 0.100 most of the Self Shadowing interference has been 
eliminated (apart from small areas on the Sphere), but the start of the shadow point has 
moved slightly to the left of the Sphere. With Bias values at 0.500 and 1.000 the shadow start 
point moves even further away from the sphere and there is no Self Shadowing Interference. 

Self Shadowing Interference tends to affect curved surfaces more than flat ones, meaning that 
if your scene has a lot of curved surfaces it may be necessary to increase the Bias value or 
ShadowBufferSize value. 

Having overly large Bias values not only places shadows further away from their casting 
objects, but can also cause Objects that are very small to not cast any shadows at all. At that 
point altering Bias, ShadowBufferSize or SpotSi values, among other things may be required 
to fix the problem. 

Halo Step 



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Halo Step can have a value between and 12. The Halo Step value is used to determine 
weather a light will cast Volumetric Shadows and what quality those resultant Volumetric 
Shadows will be. 




Layout of Halo and Volumetric Shadow 

Above is a screenshot which shows a Volumetric Shadow being cast. 

For Volumetric Shadows to work you have to have the Halo button activated and have a high 
enough Haloint value, so that the cast Volumetric Shadow is visible. Once these conditions 
have been met the Halo Step value can be altered to change the quality of Volumetric 
Shadows. 

If Halo Step is set to a value of then no Volumetric Shadow will be generated. 

Unlike most other controls, as the Halo Step value increases the quality of Volumetric 
Shadows decreases (but takes less time to render), whereas when Halo Step value decreases 
the quality of the Volumetric Shadows increases (but takes more time to render). 




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Clips ta & ClipEnd 

When a Spotlight with buffered shadows is added to a scene, an extra line appears on the 
Spotlight, shown below: 




Screenshot showing Shadow ClipSta and ClipEnd points line 

The start point of the line represents ClipSta;s value and the end of the line represents 
ClipEnd's value. Both ClipSta and ClipEnd values represent Blender Units. 

ClipSta can have a value between 0.10 and 1000. 

ClipEnd can have a value between 1 and 5000. 

Both values are represented in Blender Units. 

ClipSta (ClipStart) indicates the point after which Buffered Shadows can be present within 
the Spotlight area. Any shadow which could be present before this point is ignored and no 
shadow will be generated. 

ClipEnd indicates the point after which Buffered Shadows will not be generated within the 
Spotlight area. Any shadow which could be present after this point is ignored and no shadow 
will be generated. 



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The area between ClipSta and ClipEnd will be capable of having buffered shadows generated. 

Altering the ClipSta and ClipEnd values helps in controlling where shadows can be 
generated. Altering the range between ClipSta and ClipEnd can help speed up rendering, save 
memory and make the resultant shadows more accurate. 

When using a Spotlight with Buffered Shadows, to maintain or increase quality of generated 
shadows, it is helpful to adjust the ClipSta and ClipEnd such that their values closely bound 
around the areas which they want to have shadows generated at. Minimising the range 
between ClipSta and ClipEnd, minimises the area shadows are computed in and therefore 
helps increase shadow quality in the more restricted area. 

Automatic ClipStart & ClipEnd 

As well as using the value based ClipSta and ClipEnd fields to control when buffered 
shadows start and end, it is also possible to have Blender pick the best value independently 
for each ClipSta and ClipEnd field. 




SpotSi 75.00 



Spot Bl 0.1 50IBJ- 



HsJoInt 1 .000 



Only Shade 



Layer 



Shadow Buffer Size: 2S80 



I Tent I Gau33 



Square 




Samples: 3 


Halo step: 


Halo 


Bias: 1 .000 


Soft: 3.00 








a ■ Clips 


a 


1.00 . ft 4 


:iipEnd: 30.00 



Sample Buffe 



Screenshot showing Automatic ClipSta and ClipEnd buttons, highlighted in yellow. 

Blender does this by looking at where the visible vertices are when viewed from the 
Spotlights position. 

Shadow Color 



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When using buffered shadows it is possible to choose the color of the generated shadow, 
which does not have to bear any relation to the color of the light lighting the area. 




Square 




■ Samples: 3 > 


•Halo step: 


Halo 


■ Bias: 1 .000 


• Soft: 3.00 



Shadow Color selection box highlighted in yellow. 

To change the color from the default (Black), click on the area highlighted in yellow and then 
select the required color. 

This Shadow Color selection box only becomes visible when using Buffered Shadows. 






Red Colored Buffer Shadow 
example 



Green Colored Buffer Shadow 
example 



Blue Colored Buffer Shadow 
example 



The above images were all rendered with a white light and the shadow color was selected 
independently. 

Although you can select a pure white color for a shadow color, it appears to make a shadow 
disappear. 

Shadow Buffer Generation Type 

Blender has more than one way to generate buffered shadows. The Shadow Buffer Generation 
Type drop down selector controls which generation type is used for buffered shadow 
generation. Below the field is highlighted in yellow: 



Classical 



OnlyShado 
Layer 



Spot Si 75.00 



Spot Bl 0.150 ■]- 



Haloint 1 .000 



Shadow Buffer Size: 2880 



Tent Gauss 



Square 




< Samples: 3 > 


"Halo step: 


Halo 


Bias: 1 .000 ■ 


. Soft: 3.00 



I fa I Clip Sta: 1.00 | s. | Clip End: 30.00 



t Sample Buffers: I 



4 9 



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Shadow Buffer Generation Type field highlighted in yellow. 
There are 3 shadow generation types, those being: 

• Classical 

• Classic-Halfway 

• Irregular 

Classical shadow generation used to be the Blender default method for generation of buffered 
shadows. It used an older way of generating buffered shadows, but it could have some 
problems with accuracy of the generated shadows and can be very sensitive to 
ShadowBufferSize and different Bias values and all the Self-shadowing issues that brings up. 
It appears that the Classical method of generating shadows is in the position of being 
obsoleted and is really only still in Blender to works with older versions of Blender, 
Classic-Halfway should probably be used instead. 

Classic-Halfway is an improved shadow buffering method and is currently the default option 
selected in Blender. It works by taking an averaged reading of the first and second nearest Z 
depth values allowing the Bias value to be lowered and yet not suffer as much from 
Self-Shadowing issues. Not having to increase Bias values helps with shadow accuracy, 
because large Bias values can mean small faces can lose their shadows, as well as preventing 
shadows being overly offset from the larger Bias value. 

Classic-Halfway doesn't work very well when faces overlap, and Biasing problems can 
happen. 

Currently the Halo Step option doesn't work well in some cases. Especially when using planes 
(not volumes), errors can be introduced. 

Irregular, this shadow method is used to generate sharp/hard shadows that are placed as 
accurately as ray- traced shadows. This method offers very good performance because it can 
be done as a multi-threaded process. 

The method supports transparent shadows by altering the "A Shad" Numeric Slider value: 



P 



Material 





l-rlvl 


VCol Light 


VCol Faint 1 Tex Face | Shadeies | 


No Mist 


Env • Siiad A 1 .000 





En 


Fl 0.800 ^^^1— 




Spe 


C 0.800 ^^\ 




Mir 




l^aHSV 


dvn| 


A 1 .000 ^ 



The Shad A slider highlighted in yellow. 

To use Irregular transparent shadows first select the object which will receive the transparent 
shadow. Then alter the Shad A value in the Material panel. This will only work when 
Irregular shadow buffer lighting is used. 

For more information on the different shadow generation methods see these links: 

http://www.blender.org/development/release-logs/blender-243/irregular-shadow-buffer/ 

http://www.blendernation.com/2006/10/15/blender-gets-irregular-shadow-buffers/ 

http://www.blender.org/development/release-logs/blender-243/shadow-buffer-halfway-average/ 



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SampleBuffers: 1,4,9 

The SampleBuffers setting can be set to values 1, 4 or 9 and represents the number of shadow 
buffers that will be used when doing Anti- Aliasing on shadows generated using shadow 
buffering. 

The higher the number of the SampleBuffers the smoother the Anti- Aliasing, but when using 
SampleBuffers of 4 you will use 4 times as much memory and with 9, nine times the memory. 
So Both memory and processing time can be increased, but you get better Anti- Aliasing on 
small moving objects. 

It seems that this option is used in special cases with very small objects, which move and 
need to generate really small shadows (such as strands). It appears that ormally pixel width 
shadows don't seem to anti-alias properly and increasing ShadowBufferSize also doesn't 
seem to help. 

Here is a message from Ton Roosendaal about its reason for being from a log message: 

Problem: 

> Temporal aliasing of shadowbuffers when small details move (like strands). 
> 

> In this case it doesn't work to simply increase the shadowbuffer size, 

> because strands are pixel-sized. Huge shadowbuffers make strand shadows 

> almost disappear. So... the shadowbuffer resolution has to be not too high. 
> 

> Instead of increasing the buffer size, we then create multiple buffers, 

> each on different subpixel positions (a bit like "FSA" :). 
> 

> So! Shadowbuffer sampling then works as follows; 
> 

> 1) You take multiple samples in the shadowbuffer, on different locations 

> inside (or around) the rendered pixel. 

> That option was already available as "Samp" button in Lamps 
> 

> 2) Set amount of sample buffers. It is default 1, but can be 4 or 9. 
> 

> The results of setting it to '4' or '9' buffers you can see here: 

> http://www.blender.org/bf/Filters/index3.html 
> 

> Actually, deep shadowbuffers could solve it probably too! Anyhoo... 

Unclear 

I am not really clear on how SampleBuffers and Irregular shadows buffers work so if anyone has more info 
and came make thing clearer either contact me and I will update the page or update it, same goes for anything 
else you think should be changed on this page. Terrywallwork - 3 Oct 2008 

Shadows 

Spotlights can use either raytraced shadows or buffer shadows. Either of the two can provide various extra 
options. Raytraced shadows are generally more accurate, with extra capabilities such as transparent shadows, 
although they are quite slower to render. Buffered shadows are more complex to set up and involve more 
faking, but the speed of rendering is a definite advantage. 



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Spot Lamp What is Quasi-Monte Carlo? 

For more, detailed information see the Raytraced shadows or Buffered shadows sections. 

What is Quasi-Monte Carlo? 

The Monte Carlo method is a method of taking a series of samples/readings of values (any kind of values, 
such as light values, color values, reflective states) in or around an area at random, so as to determine the 
correct actions to take in certain calculations which usually require multiple sample values to determine 
overall accuracy, of those calculations. The Monte Carlo methods tries to be as random as possible, this can 
often cause areas that are being sampled to have large irregular gaps in them (places that are not 
sampled/read), this in turn can cause problems for certain calculations (such as shadow calculation). 

The solution to this was the Quasi-Monte Carlo method. 

The Quasi-Monte Carlo method is also random, but tries to make sure that the samples/readings it takes are 
also better distributed (leaving less irregular gaps in its sample areas) and more evenly spread across an area. 
This has the advantage of sometimes leading to more accurate calculations based on samples/reading. 

Whiat is Volumetric Lighting? 

According to Wikipedia, Volumetric Lighting is as described Below: 

"Volumetric lighting is a technique used in 3D computer graphics to add Tyndall-effect lighting to a 
rendered scene. The term seems to have been introduced from cinematography and is now widely 
applied to 3D modelling and rendering especially in the field of 3D gaming. It allows the viewer to 
see beams of light shining through the environment; seeing sunbeams streaming through an open 
window is an example of volumetric lighting, also known as God rays. 

In volumetric lighting, the light cone emitted by a light source is modeled as a transparent object and 
considered as a container of a "volume": as a result, light has the capability to give the effect of 
passing through an actual three dimensional medium (such as fog, dust, smoke, or steam) that is 
inside its volume, just like in the real world." 

A classic example is the Search light with a visible Halo/Shaft of light being emitted from it as the search 
hght sweeps around. 

Blend file of Spotlight Animation 

By default Blender does not model this aspect of light. For example when Blender lights something with a 
Spotlight you see the Objects and area on the floor lit but not the Shaft/Halo of light coming from the 
Spothght as it progresses to its target and would get scattered on the way. 

The Halo/Shaft of light is caused in the real world by light being scattered by particles in the air, some of 
which get diverted into your eye and that you perceive as a Halo/Shaft of light. The scattering of light from a 
source can be simulated in Blender using various options, but by default is not activated. 

Technical Details 

(Spot Light Scheme) shows the relationship between the light's properties and how they relate physically. 



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Spot Lamp 



Examples 




V ' ■' 



Spot Lamp Scheme 




Spot Si and Bl 



Examples 



Sharp falloff 



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Spot Lamp 



See Also 




Spot lamp render example 



See Also 

• Raytraced shadows 

• Buffered shadows 



Previous: Manual/Lamp 



Contents 



Next: Manual/ Area Lamp 



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Area Lamp 



Area Lamp 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.40 

Area Lamp 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Lamp Context 

Hotkey: F5 

Description 




Area Light. 

The Area lamp simulates light originating from surface (or surface-like) emitters, for example, a TV screen, 
your supermarket's neons, a window or a cloudy sky are just a few types. The area lamp produces shadows 
with soft borders by sampling a lamp along a grid the size of which is defined by the user. This is in direct 
contrast to point-like artifical lights which product sharp borders. 



Options 



Pi 



1 



^|LA:Spot 



Dist: 30.00 



Square 



4 Size 1.00 



[Energy I.OOOlh 



Layer 



Negative 



No Diffuse 



No Specular 



R 1.000 



G 1.000 



E 1.000 




Gamma 1.0001 



Area Light's Lamp Panel 



Dist 



The area lamp's falloff distance. This is much more sensitive and important for area lamps than for 
other lamps, usually any objects within the range of Dist will be blown out and overexposed. For best 
results, set the Dist to just below the distance to the object that you want to illuminate. 



Gamma 



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568 



Area Lamp Options 

Amount to gamma correct the brightness of illumination. Higher values give more contrast and 
shorter falloff. 

The Area light replaces the Quad and Sphere buttons with Shape and Size controls. The first one lets you 
choose the shape of the area and the second the size of the shape. 



Square 



Emit light from a square area 
Size 

The width of the square's edge 



Rect 



Emit light from a rectangular area 
SizeX 

The rectangle's horizontal width 
Size Y 

The rectangle's vertical height 

Shape Tips 

Choosing the appropriate shape for your Area Light will enhance the believability of your scene. For 
example, you may have an indoor scene and would like to simulate light entering through a window. You 
could place a Rect area lamp in a window (vertical) or from neons (horizontal) with proper ratios for SizeX 
and SizeY. For the simulation of the light emitted by a TV-screen a vertical Square area lamp would be better 
in most cases. 

Shadows 

Area lamps can make soft shadows, using raytracing with a number of samples. For more, detailed 
information see the Ravtraced shadows sections. 



Examples 




Render example. 

In (Render example), only one sphere is visible in order to emphasize the shadows created by the Area light. 
Here the Samples has been set to 3 which will generate 3*3 or 9 shadows. In addition, the Size of the square 
has been made relatively large (30) in order to exaggerate the shadows displaced from one another; the 
numbers are marked in an arbitrary order. Think of the Size as pushing the lights away from each other in the 

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Area Lamp 
plane of the square. 



Technical Details 



Technical Details 




m 

Principles behind the Area Light 

The following picture (Principles behind the Area Light) helps to understand how the soft shadows are 
simulated. 

(a) is the Area Light as defined in Blender. If its shape is Square, then the softness of the shadow is defined by 
the number of light Samples in each direction of the shape. For example, (b) illustrates the equivalent case of 
an Area Light (Square shape), with Samples set at 3 on the Shadow and Spot panel; see Area Light Buttons 
section. 

The Area Light is then considered as a grid with a resolution of 3 in each direction, and with a Light 
dupli verted at each node for a total of 9 Lights. 

In case (a) the energy is "Energy (E)"/l and in case (b) the Energy of each individual equivalent Light is equal 
to E/(No of lights). Each Light produces a faint shadow (proportional to the Energy of the Light), and the 
overlay of the shadows produces the soft shadows (they are darker where the individual shadows overlap, and 
lighter everywhere else). 



Hints 

You will note that changing the Size parameter of your area lamp doesn't affect the lighting intensity of your 
scene. On the other hand, rescaling the lamp using the S in the 3D View could dramatically increase or 
decrease the lighting intensity of the scene. This behavior has been coded this way so that you can fine tune 
all your light settings and then decide to scale up (or down) the whole scene without suffering from a drastic 
change in the lighting intensity. If you only want to change the dimensions of your Area lamp, without 
messing with its lighting intensity, you are strongly encouraged to use the Size buttons instead. 

With equal Energy and Dist values, an area lamp and a regular lamp will not light the scene with the same 
intensity. The area lamp will have a tendancy to 'blow out' the highlights, but this can be corrected using the 
Exp slider in the World buttons. 



See Also 



• Ravtraced shadows 



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Area Lamp Technical Details 



Previous: Manual/Spot Lamp Contents Next: Manual/Hemi Lamp 



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Hemi Lamp 



Hemi Lamp 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.40 

Hemi Lamp 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Lamp Context 

Hotkey: F5 

Description 




Hemi Light 

The Hemi lamp provides light from the direction of a 180° hemisphere, designed to simulate the light coming 
from a heavily clouded or otherwise uniform sky. In other words it is a light which is shed, uniformly, by a 
glowing dome surrounding the scene (Hemi Light conceptual scheme). 

Similar to the Sun lamp, the Hemi's location is unimportant, while its orientation is key. 

The hemi lamp is represented with four arcs, visualising the orientation of the hemispherical dome, and a 
dashed line representing the direction in which the maximum energy is radiated, the inside of the hemisphere. 



Options 

Energy (0.0 - 10.0) 

The intensity of the hemi lamp's illumination 
Color 

The color of the hemi lamp's illumination 



Examples 



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Hemi Lamp 



Examples 




Render example. 

The results of a Hemi Light for the 9 sphere set up are shown in (Render example). Notice how the spheres are 
lit more completely around and to the backside, and the beige ground appears to be bright. The softness of the 
Hemi light in comparison to the Sun light is evident. 



Outdoor Light 




Outdoor Light example 

To achieve outdoor lighting you can use both a Sun light, say an Energy of 1.0, with a warm yellow/orange 
tint and shadowing enabled, plus a weaker bluish Hemi light faking the light coming from every point of a 
clear blue sky. 

{Outdoor Light example) shows an example with relative parameters. The configuration is as: Sun Light 
Energy equal to 1.0 RGB=(1.0,0.95,0.8) Sun direction in a polar reference is (135A°,135A°). Hemi Light 
Energy=0.5 RGB=(0.64,0.78,1.0) pointing down. 



Technical Details 



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573 



Hemi Lamp 



Examples 




Hemi Light conceptual scheme 



Previous: Manual/ Area Lamp 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Sun Lamp 



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574 



Sun Lamp Sun Lamp 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.40 

Sun Lamp 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Lamp Context 

Hotkey: F5 

Description 




Sun Light. 

A Sun lamp provides light of constant intensity emitted in a single direction. In the 3D view the Sun light is 
represented by an encircled black dot with rays emitting from it, plus a dashed line indicating the direction of 
the light. This direction can be changed by rotating the sun lamp, as any other object, but because the light is 
emitted in a constant direction, the location of a sun lamp does not affect the rendered result. 



Options 

Energy (0.0 - 10.0) 

The intensity of the sun lamp's illumination 
Color 

The color of the sun lamp's illumination 
Sky /A tmo sphere 

Various settings for the appearance of the sun in the sky, and the atmosphere through which is shines, 

is available. For details click here. 



Examples 



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Sun Lamp 



Hints 




Render example. 

In this rendering the light comes from a constant direction and has a uniform intensity. Notice also, that the 
white specular highlight on each sphere is in the exact same place; discounting of course the perspective effect 
from the camera's position being so close to the spheres. This means the actual location of the Sun light itself 
is not important. 



Hints 



A Sun lamp can be very handy for a uniform clear day-light open-space illumination. 



Previous: Manual/Hemi Lamp 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Lighting Rigs 



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576 



Sun Lamp 



Ambient Only 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

A rig is a standard setup and combination of objects; there can be lighting rigs, or armature rigs, etc. A rig 
provides a basic setup and allows you to start from a known point and go from there. Different rigs are used 
for different purposes and emulate different conditions; the rig you start with depends on what you want to 
convey in your scene. Lighting can be very confusing, and the defaults do not give good results. Further, very 
small changes can have a dramatic effect on the mood and colors. At major studios, lighting is an entire step 
and specialty. Well, let's get out of the darkness of confusion and let me enlighten you. 

In all the lighting rigs, the default Camera is always positioned 15 degrees off dead-on, about 25 BU back and 
9 BU to the side of the subject, at eye level, and uses a long lens (80mm). Up close, a 35mm lens will distort 
the image. A long lens takes in more of the scene. A dead-on camera angle is too dramatic and frames too 
wide a scene to take in. So now you know; next time you go to a play, sit off-center and you won't miss the 
action happening on the sidelines and will have a greater appreciation for the depth of the set. Anyway, 
enough about camera angles; this is about lighting. 



Ambient Only 



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In the Material settings, there is a little globe button where you select the world settings. On the World panel 
are three sliders AmbR, AmbG, and AmbB, for the color and saturation of ambient light in the world. 
Ambient light is the scattered light that comes from sunlight being reflected off every surface it hits, hitting 
your object, and traveling to camera. 




Ambient Occlusion 



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577 



Sun Lamp 



Single Rig 



Ambient light illuminates, in a perfectly balanced, shadeless way, without casting shadows. You can vary the 
intensity of the Ambient light across your scene via Ambient Occlusion . In the sample .blend, the "0 pt AO" 
scene has a light box. Shadow and Ray enabled, and Ambient Occlusion enabled in the World settings. The 
Ambient color is a sunny white. 




Ambient Occlusion with Radiosity 

You can add to the Ambient light via Radiosity . With Radiosity, the color of light that is radiated from 
colored objects is mixed with the ambient light. In the sample .blend, the Radiosity scene has Radiosity 
enabled and the cube is emitting just a little purple to show the effects. You can mix AO and Radiosity as 
well, as is shown in the example picture to the right and the .blend file in the "0 pt AO+Radio" scene. 



Single Rig 



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Standard spot light rig 

The sole, or key, spot light rig provides a dramatic, showy, yet effective illumination of one object or a few 
objects close together. It is a single spotlight, usually with a hard edge. Halos are enabled in this render to 
remind you of a smoky nightclub scene. It is placed above and directly in front of the subject; in this case 10 
units in front and 10 units high, just like a stage, it shines down at about a 40 degree angle. We use quadractic 
attenuation, energy of 0.2, a falloff of 20 (the light is about 14 BU from the subject), and a slight coloration of 
relaxing blue (R:0.9, G:0.9, B:1.0) with a cloud texture mapped to white color at 0.5 mix. This mixing gives 
some softness to the light. It's a narrow spot at 45 degrees, and the halo you can adjust to your liking. 

You can make the spot wider by increasing SpotSi and softenting the edge by increasing SpotBl, and parent it 
to the main actor, so that the spot follows them as they move around. Objects close to the main actor will 
naturally be more lit and your viewer will pay attention to them. 



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578 



Sun Lamp 



Two-Point Rig 



Moving this spot directly overhead and pointing down gives the interrogation effect. At the opposite end of 
the show-off emotional spectrum is one soft candeUght (short falloff, yellow light) placed really up close to 
the subject, dramatizing the fearful "lost in the darkness" effect. 

Somewhere in the macabre spectrum is a hard spot on the floor shining upward. For fun, grab a flashlight, 
head into the bathroom and close the door. Turn out the light and hold the flashlight under your chin, pointing 
up. Look in the mirror and turn it on. Ghoulies! Don't blame me for nightmares, and I hope you get the point: 
hghting, even with a single light, varying the intensity, location and direction, changes everything in a 
scene. 

Use this rig, with Ambient light (and props receiving and being lit by ambient light in their material settings) 
for scenes that feature one main actor or a product being spotlighted. Do not use this rig for big open spaces or 
to show all aspects of a model. 



Two-Point Rig 




m 

Standard 2-point light rig 

The two-point lighting rig provides a balanced illumination of an object. Shown to the right are the views of 
the standard two-point lighting rig. It is called the 2-point because there are two points of light. The standard 
two-point lighting rig provides a balanced illumination of untextured objects hanging out there in 3D space. 
This rig is used in real studios for lighting a product, especially a glossy one. 

Both lights are almost the same but do different things. Both emulate very wide, soft light by being Hemi with 
a long falloff distance of 20, which provides even lighting front to back. Both are tinged blue (R:0.9, G:0.9, 
B:1.0), and have a white cloud texture mixed at 50%. If you use a spot light, you will get a shadow. In real 
life, these lights bounce light off the inside of a silver umbrella. 

The setting for the stage left (on your right) light is shown in the material lamp settings. Notice how we use 
low intensity to bring out the dimensionality of the sphere; I can't stress that enough. Hard, bright lights 
actually flatten it and make you squint. Soft lights allow your eye to focus. The left lamp is energy 0.17, 
because it gives a little more face to the camera (it's on the same side as the camera, so it more directly lights 
up the face for the camera), and so we disable specular so we don't get that shiny forehead or nose. 

The lamp on the left however, lets it be known that it is there by enabling specular; specular flare is that bright 
spot that is off center above midline on the sphere. It functions also as fill, so we turn down its energy to 0.1. 

Use this rig to give even illumination of a scene, where there is no main focus. The Hemi's will light up 
background objects and props, so Ambient is not that important. At the opposite end of the lighting spectrum, 
two narrow spotlights at higher power with a hard edge gives a "This is the Police, come out with your hands 
up" kindof look, as if the subject is caught in the crossfire. 



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Sun Lamp 



Three-Point Rigs 



Three-Point Rigs 



The standard three-point lighting rig is the most common illumination of objects and scenes bar none. If you 
want to show off your model, use this rig. As you can see, the untextured unmaterialized sphere seems to 
come out at you. There are multiple thesis on this rig, and you will use one of two: 

• Studio - used in a real studio to film in front of a green screen or backdrop. Use this rig when you are 
rendering your CG objects to alpha into the scene so that the lighting on the actors and your CG 
objects is the same. 

• Standard - used in real life to light actors on a set, and gives some backlighting to highlight the sides 
of actors, making them stand out more and giving them depth. 



Studio rig 




m 

Studio 3-point light rig 

Shown to the right are the Studio top, front, and side views of the standard three-point lighting rig. It changes 
the dynamics of the scene, by making a brighter "key" light give some highlights to the object, while two side 
"fill" lights soften the shadows created by the key light. In the studio, use this rig to film a talking head (actor) 
in front of a green screen, or with multiple people, keeping the key light on the main actor. This rig is also 
used to light products from all angles, and the side fill lights light up the props. 

The key light is the Area light placed slightly above and to the left of the camera. It has an energy of 0. 1 , a 
falloff of 12, is slightly yellow (1,1, .8), and it allows the specular to come out. It is about 30 bu back from the 
subject, and travels with the camera. A little specular shine lets you know there's a light there, and that you're 
not looking at a ghost. In real life, it is a spot with baffles, or blinders, that limit the area of the light. 

The two sidelights are reduced to only fill; each of them are Hemi lights placed 20 BU to the side and 5 BU in 
front of the subject, at ground level. Each have an energy of 0.2, falloff distance 10, and are slightly blue 
(R:0.9, G:0.9, B:1.0), although I have seen very blue (R:0.67, G:0.71, B:0.9) used effectively. They don't 
cause a spotshine on the surface by disabling specular, and at ground level, light under the chin or any 
horizontal surfaces, countering the shadows caused by the key light. Further, a cloud texture is mapped to 
white at a 50% mix. This mixing simulates what happens in real life and softens the lighting even further. 

Use this rig to give balanced soft lighting that also highlights your main actor or object. It combines the best 
of both the single rig and the two-point rig, providing balanced illumination and frontal highlights. For a wide 
scene, you may have to pull the sidelights back to be more positioned like the two-point rig. 



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Sun Lamp 



Standard Rig 



Standard Rig 

III I I I 







Standard 3-point light rig 

Without a curtain in back of your main subject, you have depth to work with. The left fill light has been 
moved behind the subject (so it is now called a backlight) and is just off-camera, while the right side fill light 
remains the same. The keylight gives you specular reflection so you can play with specularity and hardness in 
your object's material settings. The key light gives that "in-the-spotlight" feel, highlighting the subject, while 
the backlight gives a crisp edge to the subject against the background. This helps them stand out. 

In this rig, the key light is a fairly bright spot light with an energy of 2.0 and a falloff of 10. Use a slighter 
tinge of yellow because the light is so bright; it is the only light for that side. The other sidelight has been 
moved in back and raised to eye (camera) level. You need to cut the energy of the backlight in half, or when it 
is added to the remaining sidelight, it will light up the side too much and call too much attention to itself. You 
can vary the angle and height of the backlight mimic a sun lighting up the objects. 

Use this rig in normal 3D animations to light the main actor. Use this rig especially if you have transparent 
objects (like glass) so that there is plenty of light to shine through them to the camera. The tricky part here is 
balancing the intensities of the light so that no one light competes with or overpowers the others, while 
making sure all three work together as a team. 



Four-point Rig 




4-point light rig 

The four-point lighting rig provides a better simulation of outside lighting, by adding a "sun" lamp 30 blender 
units above, 10 to the side, and 15 BU behind the subject. This sunlight provides backlighting and fills the top 
of the subject; even producing an intentional glare on the top of their head, telling you there is a sun up there. 
Notice it is colored yellow, which balances out the blue sidelights. 



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Sun Lamp Troubleshooting and a Helpful Blend file 

Changing the key light to a Spot Quad NoSpec, with an energy of 1.0 and pure white light that has a falloff of 
12.0 combines with and softens the top sun flare while illuminating the face, resulting in a bright sunshine 
effect. Two lights above means sharper shadows as well, so you might want to adjust the side fill lights. In 
this picture, they are still Hemi NoSpec with an energy of 0.1, falloff distance of 10, and blueish speckled as 
before. 

Use this rig when the camera will be filming from behind the characters, looking over their shoulder or 
whatnot, because the sun provides the backlight there. Also use this rig when you have transparent objects, so 
there is light to come through the objects to the camera. 

Another spot for the fill light is shining up onto the main actor's face, illuminating the underside of his chin 
and neck. This gets rid of a sometimes ugly shadow under the chin, which if not corrected, can make the actor 
look fat or like they have a double chin; otherwise distracting. It evens out the lighting of the face. 



Troubleshooting and a Helpful Blend file 

If you run into a problem with your render, where there are really bright areas, or really dark ones, or strange 
shadows, or lines on your objects, here's what I suggest you do: 

1. First, try killing all materials (select objects and press the X to disassociate the object from that 
material. Don't worry, as long as you don't reload the file, the material is still out there waiting for you 
to re-assign it once you've figure out the problem). See if you get those problems with just grayness 
objects. If you don't have the problem anymore, that should tell you that you've got a 
materials-interacting-with-light problem. Check the material settings, especially Ambient, 
Reflection and all those little buttons and sliders on the Shaders panel. You can set some lights to 
affect only certain materials, so if there's an issue with only a few objects being really bright, start 
with those. 

2. Then start killing lights; regress all the way back to one light, make sure it's smooth, then add them in 
one by one. As they add together, reduce power in the tested ones so they merge cleanly, or consider 
not adding it at all, or, especially, reduce the energy of the lamp you just introduced. 

3. You can also set lights to only light objects on a layer, so again, if some of the gray spheres have 
weirdness, check for that as well. Again, you may have done some of this accidentally, so sometimes 
deleting the light and re-adding it with defaults helps you reset to a known-good situation. 

4. Negative lights can be very tricky, and make your model blotchy, so pay special attention to your use 
of those special lights. Shadow-only lights can throw off the look of the scene as well. Overly 
textured lights can make your scene have random wierd colors. Don't go too far off a slight tinge of 
blue or yellow or shades of white, or your material may show Blue in the Material buttons but render 
Green, and you will be very confused. 

5. Look at your environment settings; Horizon, Zenith, and Ambient light. 

All of the above lighting rigs were done without raytracing or using Yafray or nodes; those are additional 
complication layers that I cannot cover here. Sorry. 

Hopefully, you will want to download the blend file here . Save it on your hard drive, and when you want to 
start a new scene, do a File->Append->(filename)->Scene->(and select the rig you want). 



Previous: Manual/Sun Lamp Contents Next: Manual/Raytraced Shadows 



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Raytraced shadows Raytraced shadows 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.40 



Shadows 

Shadows are a darkening of a portion of an object because light is being partially or totally blocked from 
illumninating the object. Blender supports the following kind of shadows: 

1. Ray-traced Shadows 

2. Buffer shadows 

3. Ambient occlusion darkening 

4. Radiosity 

Ambient Occlusion really isn't a shadow based on light per se, but based on geometry. However, it does 
mimic an effect where light is prevented from fully and uniformly illuminating an object, so it is mentioned 
here. Also, it is important to mention Ambient lighting, since increasing Ambient decreases the effect of a 
shadow. In that same vein, Radiosity casts light from one object onto another, and if Radiosity is high, the 
shadow will not appear either. 

You can use a combination of ray-traced and buffer shadows to achieve different results. Even within Ray 
Traced shadows, different lamps cast different patterns and intensities of shadow. Depending on how you 
arrange your lamps, one lamp may wipe out or override the shadow cast by another lamp. 

Shadows is one of those trifectas in Blender, where multiple things have to be set up in different areas to get 
results: 

1 . . The Lamp has to cast shadows (ability and direction) 

2. . Opaque object has to block light on its way (position and layer) 

3. . Another object's material has to receive shadows (Shadow and TraShadow enabled) 

4. . the Render engine has to calculate Shadows (and Ray, if ray-traced shadows are being used) 

For example, the simple Lamp, Area, and Sun light has the ability to cast Ray Shadows, but not buffer 
shadows. The Spot light can cast both, whereas the Hemi light does not cast any. If a sun lamp is pointing 
sideways, it will not cast a shadow from a sphere above a plane onto the plane, since the light is not traveling 
that way. 

Just to give you more shadow options (and further confuse the issue), lamps and materials can be set to ONLY 
cast and receive shadows, and not light the diffuse/specular aspects of the object. Also, Renderlayers can turn 
on/off the Shadow pass, and their output may or may not contain shadow information. 



Raytraced shadows 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Lamp Context Shadow & Spot 

Hotkey: F5 



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Raytraced shadows 



Description 



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Raytraced shadows produce very precise shadows with very low memory use, but at the cost of processing 
time. This type of shadowing is available to all lamp types except Hemi. 

As opposed to Buffer Shadows . Raytraced shadows are obtained by casting rays from a regular light source, 
uniformly and in all directions. The ray tracer then records which pixel of the final image is hit by a ray light, 
and which is not. Those that are not are obviously obscured by a shadow. 

Each light cast rays in a different way. For example, a Spot Light cast rays uniformly in all directions within a 
cone. The Sun Light cast rays from a infinitely distant point, with all rays parallel to the direction of the Sun 
Light. 

For each additional light added to the scene, with ray tracing enabled, the rendering time increases. Raytraced 
shadows require more computation than Buffered shadows but produce sharp shadow borders with very little 
memory resource usage. 



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To enable raytraced shadows two actions are required: 

• Enable shadows globally from the Scene context (FIO) using the Shadow button on the Render panel: 
see {Render panel). 

• Enable Raytracing globally from the same panel using the Ray button. 

• Enable shadows for the light using the Ray Shadow button on the Shading context Shadow and Spot 
panel. This panel varies depending on the type of light. 



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584 



Raytraced shadows 



Options 



For further information about the Shadow and Spot panel see the section on Lamp types . 



Area lamps 




* Samples: 1 *\ 



Umbra 



Dither 



Noise 




Area Light's Shadow Panel 

Area lamps provide additional options for raytraced shadows: 

Samples (SamplesX/ Sample sY) 

The amount of samples taken to simulate the soft shadow. The more samples, the softer the shadows 
but the longer it will take to render. For Square area lamps, you have to set only one samples value 
(Samples). For Rect area lamps, you can set different samples values in the two co-planar directions 
of the Area lamp (SamplesX and SamplesY). 

The following three parameters are intended to artificially boost the "soft" shadow effect, with possible loss in 
quahty: 



Umbra 



Dither 



Emphasizes the intensity of shadows in the area fully within the shadow rays. The light transition 
between fully shadowed areas and fully lit areas changes more quickly (i.e. a sharp shadow gradient). 
You need Samples values equal to or greater than 2 to see any influence of this button. 



Applies a sampling over the borders of the shadows, in a similar same way anti-aliasing is applied by 
the OS A button on the borders of an object. It artificially softens the borders of shadows; when 
Samples is set very low, you can expect poor results, so Dither is better used with medium Samples 
values. It is not useful at all with high Samples values, as the borders will appear already soft. 



Adds noise to break up the edges of solid shadow samples, offsetting them from each other in a 
pseudo-random way. Once again, this option is not very useful when you use high Samples values 
where the drawback is that Noise generates quite visible grainyness. 



Examples 

The first image on the left shows a Samples setting of 2 which generates 4 lights and hence 4 shadows. You 
can clearly see the shadows, but if you stand back far enough from the image it will appear as a single "soft" 
shadow. This can be improved by enabling Dithering and improved further by enabling Noise. 



Noise 



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585 



Raytraced shadows 



Hints 




Samples 2.0: Dither only, Noise only, and Dither plus Noise 



Hints 



If your computer isn't very fast, you could find it useful to set a low Samples value (like 2.00) and activate 
Dither and/or Noise in order to simulate slightly softer shadows. However, these results will never be better 
than the same lighting with high Samples values. 



Previous: Manual/Lighting Rigs 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Buffer Shadows 



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586 



Buffer Shadows 



Buffer Shadows 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.40 

Buffer Shadows 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Lamp Context Shadow & Spot 

Hotkey: F5 



Description 

Buffered shadows provides fast rendered shadows at the expense of precision and/or quality. Buffered 
shadows also require more memory resources as compared to raytracing. Using buffered shadows depends on 
your requirements. If you are rendering animations or can't wait hours to render a complex scene with soft 
shadows, buffer shadows are a good choice. 

Note 

Buffer shadows are only generated from Spot Lights and not from the other types of light source. 



Technical Details 

For a scanline renderer, the default in Blender, shadows can be computed using a shadow buffer. This implies 
that an image, as seen from the spot lamp's point of view is rendered and that the distance — in the image — 
for each point from the spot light is saved. Any point in the rendered image that is farther away than any of 
those points in the spot light's image is then considered to be in shadow. The shadow buffer stores this image 
data. 



Options 



Ray Shadow 



I Only Shadow | 



Square 



Halo 



Spot Si 31 .22 



Spot El 0.45S 



Haloint 1 .000 —I 



Shadow Buffer Size: 2380 



ClipSta: 1 .00 | ClipEiid: 30.00 



Sampies: 3 


■ Halo step: ■ 


Bias: 1 .000 


Soft: 3.00 



Shadow and Spot panel 

BufShadow 

Enable buffer shadows from the active lamp. This reveals additional buttons that control the shadow 
buffer. Each property can influence the render time and quality of the generated shadows. 



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587 



Buffer Shadows 



Options 



Shadow buffer size 

ShadowBujfSize 

The resolution of the shadow buffer (ranging from 512 x 512px to 10240 x 10240px). The higher the 
value, the more accurate and detailed the shadow will be. 

The following image shows a close up view of shadow buffer spotlight casting shadows of an IcoSphere with 
wire material. Notice the heavily aliased (jagged) shadows of the image {512 Shadow Bujfer size) compared to 
the crisp shadows in {4096 Shadow Bujfer size). Larger shadow buffers look much crisper, but they take 
longer to generate and use more memory while rendering. 




512 Shadow Buffer size. 



4096 Shadow Buffer size. 



Clipping region 

ClipSta/ClipEnd 

The clipping distance within which the shadow buffer is calculated. To further enhance efficiency the 
shadowis only calculated within a predefined distance from the spot light's position. This range goes 
from ClipSta, nearer to the spot light, to ClipEnd, further away from the spot light. All objects in 
between ClipSta and the Spot light are never checked for shadows which results in the objects always 
being lit. Objects further than ClipEnd are never checked for light and are always in shadow. 

To have a realistic shadow ClipSta must be less than the smallest distance between any relevant object of the 
scene and the spot light, and ClipEnd must be larger than the largest distance. 

Note 

For best shadow quality and most efficient use of resources, make ClipSta as large as possible and ClipEnd 
as small as possible, just so it barely encapsulates the objects you want to be shadowed. This minimizes the 
volume where shadows will be computed and devotes the most resources to the area in focus. 



Buffer Sampling 



Samples 

The number of samples taken and filtered together for the final shadow result 

As well as raising the ShadowBuffSize fore a more accurate result, raising the number of samples can also 
help by having more data for the renderer to analyse in the shadow calculation. The smaller the 
ShadowBuffSize the larger Samples: needs to be to have an appreciable effect. Higher Sample values give 
better anti-aliasing, but require much longer computation times. 



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588 



Buffer Shadows 



Options 



Samples work by anti-aliasing the shadow buffer, after it has been computed, by averaging the shadow 
buffer's pixel value over a square of a side of a given number of pixels. The averaging is performed with a 
grid applied to each pixel and Samples specifies the size of the grid. A Samples size of 3 means a 3x3 grid. 




4096 Shadow Buffer size. 



Sample size 3, Shadow buffer size 2048. 



In (Sample size 3, Shadow buffer size 2048) the aliasing is better than a ShadowBuffSize of 512 but with 1/2 
the ShadowBuffSize of 4096. This saves some memory resources but increases the rendering time. You can 
continue to increase the Samples size but eventually you will reach diminishing returns and increase rendering 
time. 

Note 

Using a high number of samples is necessary to smooth out soft shadows when using high Soft values. 



Shadow Bias 



Bias 



Offsets shadows from the object that casts them. Lowering the Bias value moves shadows closer to 
the object, and can help to fix artifacts at contact points 



In the following examples, the default Bias value of 1.0 gives problems in the shadows where the objects 
come into contact with the floor plane. Lowering the Bias brings the shadows closer to the casting objects to 
fix this. 




Bias: 1.000 



Bias: 0.020 



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589 



Buffer Shadows Options 

Soft Shadows 





Shadow 2 




m 




y 


shadow 1 

i 


^s^lpi 



Extreme softness 

Soft 

The size of the area over which the buffer samples are scattered and blurred. Softness is similar to the 
Samples property of the area lamp but instead of multiple lights Soft duplicates shadow samples. You 
can see this by increasing Soft value far beyond the Samples setting. For smooth results, the Soft's 
value shouldn't be more than double the Samples value. 

{Extreme softness) is an example of the Soft value at ten times that of the Samples (2) value. Notice the 
duplicate shadows are obviously very far apart. As with the other buffer properties Soft is an illusionary effect 
and when taken to extremes the effect becomes obvious. 



Examples 

Below are various examples using a solid sphere with shadows cast against a plane object. Note how the 
different settings affect the shadow that is cast. You get everything from sharp shadows to very soft shadows. 



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Buffer Shadows 



Hints 




Spot Light shadow examples. 



Hints 



Any object in Blender can act as a Camera in the 3D view. Hence you can select the Spot Light and switch to 
a view from its perspective by pressing Ctrl NumPad 0. What you would see, in shaded mode, is shown in 

(Spot Light Clipping tweak) 




i..iipaia=1u Ciiptnq=/1 



i,iip&ia=o, i.-iiptna=^i 



CllpSta=8. ClipEncf=11 



Spot Light Clipping tweak. 
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591 



Buffer Shadows Hints 

The left frame shows ChpSta too high, the Centre has it correct and the right shows ClipEnd too low. All 
object(s) nearer to the Spot light than ClipSta and fiirther from ClipEnd is not shown at all. Hence you can 
fine tune these values by verifying that all shadow casting objects are visible. 



Previous: Manual/PartV/Rav Shadows Contents Next: ManualA^olumetric Halos 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 592 



Volumetric Halos 



Volumetric Halos 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

Volumetric Halos 

Mode: All Modes (Spot Lamp) 

Panel: Shading/Lamp Context Shadow & Spot 

Hotkey: F5 



Description 

Halo is a volumetric effect, used to simulate light diffusing with an atmosphere (i.e. when light rays become 
visible as a result of light scattering due to mist, fog, dust etc.). Examples would be smoky bars or foggy 
environments. 

(Halos) shows an example of Halo enabled. The light has been moved forward and to the right in order for the 
cone's halo to be readily visible. 




Spot lamp 



Halos 



Options 

Halos are only available for the Spot lamp. 

Halo 



Haloint 



Enable a halo from the active spot lamp 

The intensity of the halo cone, ranging from 0.0 (disabled) to 5.0 (saturated.) 

















^ 


■aisawgifeWMMi 




&potSi3l.22 ■! 




Buf.Shadow 


SpDtBI0.45S kiKMj 






Haloint 1 .000 nJ 














Onl^ Shadow 






Square 




Halo 


L 








J 



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593 



Volumetric Halos 



Volumetric Halos 



Spot Light Halo button. 




Halo rendering {Ray traced shadows}. 
In the above image raytraced shadows are used, which don't support volumetric shadows, so the halo passes 
right through the sphere. The sphere casts a shadow on the ground, but it should also cast a shadow through 
the halo as well. 

When used with buffer shadows, halos can also cast volumetric shadows. 



n. ,-, , 




1 Ra^ Shadow | 


SpotSi3l.22 BJ 






MsWimii'AiiiiJim 


SpotBI 0.458 I^^BJ 








Haloint 1 .000 ■■! 






1 Onl^ Shadow | 


Shadow Buffer Size : 2880 



Square 



Halo 



ClipSta: 1 .00 | ClipEnd: 30.00 



Samples: 3 


Halo step: 


■ Bias: 1 .000 


Soft: 3.00 



Spot Light Halo step button. 




Halo and shadows rendering {Buffered shadows}. 




Halo Step=12 

Halo Step 

The number of samples taken in the spot lamp cone. Halo Step's default value of means no sampling 
at all, which means no volumetric shadow. A value of 1 gives a very fine stepping and better results, 
but with a slower rendering time (Halo and shadows rendering (Buffered shadows}). A higher Halo 
Step value yields worse results but with faster rendering (Halo Step=12). 



^ HaloStep values: 



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594 



Volumetric Halos Volumetric Halos 

A value of 8 for Halo Step is usually a good compromise between speed and accuracy. 



Previous: Manual/Volumetric Halos Contents Next: Manual/Radiositv 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 595 



Introduction Introduction 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.45 



Introduction 




Radiosity example 

Most rendering models, including ray-tracing, assume a simplified spatial model, highly optimised for the 
light that enters our 'eye' in order to draw the image. You can add reflection and shadows to this model to 
achieve a more realistic result. Still, there's an important aspect missing! When a surface has a reflective light 
component, it not only shows up in our image, it also shines light at surfaces in its neighbourhood. And 
vice-versa. In fact, light bounces around in an environment until all light energy is absorbed (or has 
escaped!). Re-irradiated light carries information about the object which has re-irradiated it, notably colour. 
Hence not only the shadows are 'less black' because of re-irradiated light, but also they tend to show the 
colour of the nearest, brightly illuminated, object. A phenomenon often referred to as 'colour leaking' 
(Radiosity example). 

In closed environments, light energy is generated by 'emitters' and is accounted for by reflection or absorption 
of the surfaces in the environment. The rate at which energy leaves a surface is called the 'radiosity' of a 
surface. Unlike conventional rendering methods, Radiosity methods first calculate all light interactions in an 
environment in a view-independent way. Then, different views can be rendered in real-time. In Blender, 
since version 2.28, Radiosity is both a rendering and a modelling tool. This means that you can enable 
Radiosity within a rendering or rather use Radiosity to paint vertex colours and vertex lights of your meshes, 
for later use. 



Previous: Manual/Volumetric Halos Contents Next: Manual/Radiosity Rendering 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 596 



Radiosity Rendering Radiosity Rendering 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.45 

Radiosity Rendering 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Render Context Render 

Hotkey: FIO 



Description 

Let's assume you have a scene ready, and that you want to render it with the Radiosity Rendering. The first 
thing to grasp when doing Radiosity is that no Lamps are necessary, but some meshes with an Emit material 
property greater than zero are required, since these will be the light sources. Emit is found on the Shaders 
panel in the bottom right. Typically, a value of 0.5 or less gives a soft radiance. 

You can build the test scene shown in Set-up for Radiosity test., it is rather easy. Just make a big cube for the 
room, give different materials to the side walls, add a cube and a stretched cube within it, and add a plane with 
a non-zero Emit value next to the roof, to simulate the area light. 

You assign Materials as usual to the input models. The RGB value of the Material defines the Patch colour. 
The 'Emit' value of a Material defines if a Patch is loaded with energy at the start of the Radiosity simulation. 
The 'Emit' value is multiplied with the area of a Patch to calculate the initial amount of unshot energy. 

Emitting faces 

Check the number of 'emitters' on Blender console! If this is zero nothing interesting can happen. You need at 
least one emitting patch to have light and hence a solution. 



Enabling Radiosity 



w 



RENDER 



Shadow 



Pano 



I R ^ J l 11 I IE | | "Efro.500||75x1| BOX IfsSX] 



Xparts: 1 


Vparts: 1 


Fields 


Od| 
y- 1 








^^11 Premul 


Key 




Border ^^^^J 



Enabling Radiosity in the Rendering Buttons. 



The Radio button on Render panel enables radiosity calculations as part of the render process. This will 
automatically consider all objects in the scene, and those materials with an Emit: value > will emit light onto 
other objects 



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Radiosity Rendering 



Material Options 



Material Options 

When assigning materials, be sure that all of them have Radio enabled on the Links and Pipeline panel. 

You also need to have the Amb setting of each material > for it to receive emitted light, since the emitted 
light becomes part of the ambient light. Ambient is found on the Shaders panel. 

Objects that emit, or radiate light, should have Emit > as well, also found on the Shaders panel. 

Since all objects realistically reflect some light back into the environment, a good general practice is to always 
set, for every object's material: 

• Enable Radio 

• Set Ambient > 0, typically 0.1 

• Set Emit > 0, typically 0.1 



Rendering Options 



HemiresiSOO 



M5« Iterations: 300 



Mult: 30.00 



Gamma: 2.000 



Convergen(;e:0.100 j 



Collect Meshes 


Free Radio Data 


Replace Meshes 


Add new Meshes 


V/\re 


BH[ 


Gour 


ShowLinn 


■ 


ElMajclOO 


■EiMin:20.- 


FaMsK: 500 


FaMin:20S 


Limit Subdivide 



Radiosity buttons for radiosity rendering. 

Hemires 

The hemicube resolution; the color-coded images used to find the Elements that are visible from a 
'shoot Patch', and thus receive energy. Hemicubes are not stored, but are recalculated each time for 
every Patch that shoots energy. The 'Hemires' value determines the Radiosity quality and adds 
significantly to the solving time. 

Max Iterations 

The maximum number of Radiosity iterations. If set to zero Radiosity will go on until the 
convergence criterion is met. You are strongly advised to set this to some non-zero number, usually 
greater than 100. 

Mult, Gamma 

The colourspace of the Radiosity solution is far more detailed than can be expressed with simple 24 
bit RGB values. When Elements are converted to faces, their energy values are converted to an RGB 
colour using the Mult and Gamma values. With the Mult value you can multiply the energy value, 
with Gamma you can change the contrast of the energy values. 

Convergence 

When the amount of unshot energy in an environment is lower than this value, the Radiosity solving 
stops. The initial unshot energy in an environment is multiplied by the area of the Patches. During 
each iteration, some of the energy is absorbed, or disappears when the environment is not a closed 
volume. In Blender's standard coordinate system a typical emitter (as in the example files) has a 
relatively small area. The convergence value is divided by a factor of 1000 before testing for that 
reason. 



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598 



Radiosity Rendering 

Examples 



Examples 




Set-up for Radiosity test. 

The rendering will take more time than usual, in the console you will notice a counter going up. The result 
will be quite poor (Radiosity rendering for coarse meshes (left) and fine meshes (right)., left) because the 
automatic radiosity render does not do adaptive refinement! Select all meshes, one after the other, and in 
EditMode subdivide them at least three times. The room, which is much bigger than the other meshes, you can 
even subdivide four times. Set the Max Iterations a bit higher, 300 or more. Try Rendering again (F12). This 
time the rendering will take even longer but the results will be much nicer, with soft shadows and colour 
leakage (Radiosity rendering for coarse meshes (left) and fine meshes (right)., right). 




Radiosity rendering for coarse meshes (left) and fine meshes (right). 

Note 

In the Radiosity Rendering Blender acts as for a normal rendering, this means that textures. Curves, Surfaces 
and even Dupliframed Objects are handled correctly. 

Hints 

Please note that the light emission is governed by the direction of the normals of a mesh, so the light emitting 
plane should have a downward pointing normal and the outer cube (the room) should have the normals 
pointing inside, (flip them!). Switch to the Radiosity 



•A I sub-context of the Shading Context. The Panels, 



shown in Radiosity buttons for radiosity rendering., are two: Radio Rendering which governs Radiosity when 
used as a rendering tool (present case) and Radio Tool, which governs Radiosity as a modelling tool (next 
section). 



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599 



Radiosity Rendering Technical Details 

Technical Details 

During the late eighties and early nineties Radiosity was a hot topic in 3D computer graphics. Many different 
methods were developed, the most successful of these solutions were based on the "progressive refinement" 
method with an "adaptive subdivision" scheme. And this is what Blender uses. To be able to get the most out 
of the Blender Radiosity method, it is important to understand the following principles: 

• Finite Element Method 

Many computer graphics or simulation methods assume a simplification of reality with Tinite 
elements'. For a visually attractive (and even scientifically proven) solution, it is not always necessary 
to dive into a molecular level of detail. Instead, you can reduce your problem to a finite number of 
representative and well-described elements. It is a common fact that such systems quickly converge 
into a stable and reliable solution. The Radiosity method is a typical example of a finite element 
method inasmuch as every face is considered a Tinite element' and its light emission considered as a 
whole. 

• Patches and Elements 

In the Radiosity universe, we distinguish between two types of 3D faces: 

Patches. 

These are triangles or squares which are able to send energy. For a fast solution it is important 

to have as few of these patches as possible. But, to speed things up the energy is modelled as 

if it were radiated by the Patch's centre; the size of the patches should then be small enough to 

make this a realistic energy distribution. (For example, when a small object is located above 

the Patch centre, all energy the Patch sends is obscured by this object, even if the patch is 

larger! This patch should be subdivided in smaller patches). 

Elements. 

These are the triangles or squares which receive energy. Each Element is associated with a 

Patch. In fact. Patches are subdivided into many small Elements. When an Element receives 

energy it absorbs part of it (depending on its colour) and passes the remainder to the Patch, 

for further radiation. Since the Elements are also the faces that we display, it is important to 

have them as small as possible, to express subtle shadow boundaries and light gradients. 

• Progressive Refinement 

This method starts with examining all available Patches. The Patch with the most 'unshot' energy is 
selected to shoot all its energy to the environment. The Elements in the environment receive this 
energy, and add this to the 'unshot' energy of their associated Patches. Then the process starts again 
for the Patch now having the most unshot energy. This continues for all the Patches until no energy is 
received anymore, or until the 'unshot' energy has converged below a certain value. 

• The hemicube method 

The calculation of how much energy each Patch gives to an Element is done through the use of 
'hemicubes'. Exactly located at the Patch's center, a hemicube (literally 'half a cube') consist of 5 small 
images of the environment. For each pixel in these images, a certain visible Element is color-coded, 
and the transmitted amount of energy can be calculated. Especially with the use of specialized 
hardware the hemicube method can be accelerated significantly. In Blender, however, hemicube 
calculations are done "in software". This method is in fact a simplification and optimisation of the 
'real' Radiosity formula (form factor differentiation). For this reason the resolution of the hemicube 
(the number of pixels of its images) is approximate and its careful setting is important to prevent 
aliasing artefacts. 

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Radiosity Rendering Technical Details 

• Adaptive subdivision 

Since the size of the patches and elements in a Mesh defines the quality of the Radiosity solution, 
automatic subdivision schemes have been developed to define the optimal size of Patches and 
Elements. Blender has two automatic subdivision methods: 

1. Subdivide- shoot Patches. 

By shooting energy to the environment, and comparing the hemicube values with the actual 
mathematical 'form factor' value, errors can be detected that indicate a need for further 
subdivision of the Patch. The results are smaller Patches and a longer solving time, but a 
higher realism of the solution. 

2. Subdivide- shoot Elements. 

By shooting energy to the environment, and detecting high energy changes (gradients) inside 
a Patch, the Elements of this Patch are subdivided one extra level. The results are smaller 
Elements and a longer solving time and maybe more aliasing, but a higher level of detail. 

• Display and Post Processing 

Subdividing Elements in Blender is 'balanced', that means each Element differs a maximum of '1' 
subdivide level with its neighbours. This is important for a pleasant and correct display of the 
Radiosity solution with Gouraud shaded faces. Usually after solving, the solution consists of 
thousands of small Elements. By filtering these and removing 'doubles', the number of Elements can 
be reduced significantly without destroying the quality of the Radiosity solution. Blender stores the 
energy values in 'floating point' values. This makes settings for dramatic lighting situations possible, 
by changing the standard multiplying and gamma values. 

• Radiosity for Modelling 

The final step can be replacing the input Meshes with the Radiosity solution (button Replace Meshes). 
At that moment the vertex colours are converted from a 'floating point' value to a 24 bits RGB value. 
The old Mesh Objects are deleted and replaced with one or more new Mesh Objects. You can then 
delete the Radiosity data with Free Data. The new Objects get a default Material that allows 
immediate rendering. Two settings in a Material are important for working with vertex colours: 

VColPaint. 

This option treats vertex colours as a replacement for the normal RGB value in the Material. 

You have to add Lamps in order to see the Radiosity colours. In fact, you can use Blender 

lighting and shadowing as usual, and still have a neat Radiosity 'look' in the rendering. 

VColLight. 

The vertexcolors are added to the light when rendering. Even without Lamps, you can see the 

result. With this option, the vertex colours are pre-multiplied by the Material RGB colour. 

This allows fine-tuning of the amount of 'Radiosity light' in the final rendering. As with 

everything in Blender, Radiosity settings are stored in a datablock. It is attached to a Scene, 

and each Scene in Blender can have a different Radiosity 'block'. Use this facility to divide 

complex environments into Scenes with independent Radiosity solvers. 



Previous: Manual/Radiositv Contents Next: Manual/Radiosity Baking 



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Collecting Meshes Collecting Meshes 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.45 

Radiosity Tool 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Radiosity Context 

Hotkey: F5 



Description 

Radiosity can be used also as a tool for defining vertex colours and lights. This can be very usefial if you want 
to make further tweaks to your models, or you want to use them in the Game Engine. Furthermore the 
Radiosity Modelling allows for Adaptive refinement, whereas the Radiosity Rendering does not! There are 
few important points to grasp for practical Radiosity Modelling: Only Meshes in Blender are allowed as input 
for Radiosity Modelling. This because the process generates Vertex colours... and so there must be vertices. It 
is also important to realize that each face in a Mesh becomes a Patch, and thus a potential energy emitter and 
reflector. Typically, large Patches send and receive more energy than small ones. It is therefore important to 
have a well-balanced input model with Patches large enough to make a difference ! When you add extremely 
small faces, these will (almost) never receive enough energy to be noticed by the "progressive refinement" 
method, which only selects Patches with large amounts of unshot energy. 

Non-mesh Objects 

Only Meshes means that you have to convert Curves and Surfaces to Meshes before starting the Radiosity 
solution! 



Collecting Meshes 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Radiosity Context 

Hotkey: F5 



Description 

The first step in the process is to convert the selected meshes to radiosity patches, to participate in the 
solution. 



Options 



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Subdivision limits 



Subdivision limits 



1 


ms 




w 




f 

i 


Collect Meshes 


Free Radio Data 


Replace Meshes 


Add new Meshes 


\Mre 


Solid 


irai 


ShowLim 


B 


ElMsxilOO 


E!Miri:20' 


PaMax: 500 


1 
PaMIn: 200 


Limit Subdivide 


h 





Radio Tool Panel 

Collect Meshes 

Convert all selected and visible Meshes in the current Scene to Patches. As a result a new Panel, 
Calculation, appears. Blender has now entered the Radiosity Modelling mode, and other editing 
functions are blocked until the 

newly created button Free Data has been pressed. 

After the Meshes are collected, they are drawn in a pseudo lighting mode that clearly differs from the normal 
drawing. The Radio Tool Panel (Gourad button) has three Radio Buttons: 

Wire / Solid / Gour 

These are three drawmode options independent of the indicated drawmode of a 3DWindow. Gouraud 
display is only performed after the Radiosity process has started. Press the Gour button, to have 
smoother results on curved surfaces. 



Subdivision limits 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Radiosity Context 

Hotkey: F5 

Description 

Blender offers a few settings to define the minimum and maximum sizes of Patches and Elements. 

Options 



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603 



Adaptive Subdividing 



Adaptive Subdividing 



1 


ms 




w 




f 

i 


Collect Meshes 


Free Radio Data 


Replace Meshes 


Add new Meshes 


\Mre 


Solid 


irai 


ShowLim 


B 


ElMsxilOO 


E!Miri:20' 


PaMax: 500 


1 
PaMIn: 200 


Limit Subdivide 


1 





Radiosity Buttons for Subdivision 

Limit Subdivide 

With respect to the values "PaMax" and "PaMin", the Patches are subdivided. This subdivision is also 
automatically performed when a "GO" action has started. 

PaMax, PaMin, ElMax, ElMin 

The maximum and minimum size of a Patch or Element. These limits are used during all Radiosity 
phases. The unit is expressed in 0.0001 of the boundbox size of the entire environment. Hence, with 
default 500 and 200 settings maximum and minimum Patch size 0.05 of the entire model (1/20) and 
0.02 of the entire model (1/50). 

ShowLim, Z 

This option visualizes the Patch and Element limits. By pressing the Z option, the limits are drawn 
rotated differently. The white lines show the Patch limits, cyan lines show the Element limits. 



Adaptive Subdividing 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Radiosity Context 

Hotkey: F5 

Description 

The last settings before starting the calculations 

Options 



GO 


• SulsSh Pateh: 1 ; 


< SubSh Element: 2 . 


Subdiv Shoot Element 


Subdiv Shoot Pateh 


MaxEl: 10000 


■ Maw Subdiv Shoot: 1 ■■ 


Faee niter 


Element RIter 


RemoveDoubles 


- Lim:0 ■ 



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604 



Adaptive Subdividing Adaptive Subdividing 

Radiosity Buttons 

MaxEl 

The maximum allowed number of Elements. Since Elements are subdivided automatically in Blender, 
the amount of used memory and the duration of the solving time can be controlled with this button. 
As a rule of thumb 20,000 elements take up 10 Mb memory. 

Max Subdiv Shoot 

The maximum number of shoot Patches that are evaluated for the "adaptive subdivision" (described 
below) . If zero, all Patches with 'Emit' value are evaluated. 

Subdiv Shoot Patch 

By shooting energy to the environment, errors can be detected that indicate a need for further 
subdivision of Patches. The subdivision is performed only once each time you call this function. The 
results are smaller Patches and a longer solving time, but a higher realism of the solution. This option 
can also be automatically performed when the GO action has started. 

Subdiv Shoot Element 

By shooting energy to the environment, and detecting high energy changes (frequencies) inside a 
Patch, the Elements of this Patch are selected to be subdivided one extra level. The subdivision is 
performed only once each time you call this function. The results are smaller Elements and a longer 
solving time and probably more aliasing, but a higher level of detail. This option can also be 
automatically performed when the GO action has started. 

SubSh P 

The number of times the environment is tested to detect Patches that need subdivision. 

SubSh E 

The number of times the environment is tested to detect Elements that need subdivision. 

Note 

Hemires, Convergence and Max iterations in the Radio Render Panel are still active and have the same 
meaning as in Radiosity Rendering. 

GO 

Start the Radiosity simulation. The phases are: 

Limit Subdivide. When Patches are too large, they are subdivided. 

Subdiv Shoot Patch. The value of SubSh P defines the number of times the Subdiv Shoot 

Patch function is called. As a result. Patches are subdivided. 
Subdiv Shoot Elem. The value of SubSh E defines the number of times the Subdiv Shoot 

Element function is called. As a result. Elements are subdivided. 
Subdivide Elements. When Elements are still larger than the minimum size, they are 

subdivided. Now, the maximum amount of memory is usually allocated. 
Solve. This is the actual 'progressive refinement' method. The mouse pointer displays the 

iteration step, the current total of Patches that shot their energy in the environment. This 

process continues until the unshot energy in the environment is lower than the Convergence 

value or when the maximum number of iterations has been reached. 
Convert to faces. The elements are converted to triangles or squares with 'anchored' edges, to 

make sure a pleasant not-discontinue Gouraud display is possible. 

This process can be terminated with Esc during any phase. 



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Editing the solution Editing the solution 

Editing the solution 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Radiosity Context 

Hotkey: F5 

Description 

Once the Radiosity solution has been computed there are still some actions to take 

Options 




Radiosity post process 

Element Filter 

This option filters Elements to remove aliasing artifacts, to smooth shadow boundaries, or to force 

equalized colours for the RemoveDoubles option. 
RemoveDoubles 

When two neighbouring Elements have a displayed colour that differs less than the limit specified in 

the Lim NumButton, the Elements are joined. The Lim value used here is expressed in a standard 8 

bits resolution; a color range from - 255. 
FaceFilter 

Elements are converted to faces for display. A FaceFilter forces an extra smoothing in the displayed 

result, without changing the Element values themselves. 
Mult, Gamma 

These NumButtons have the same meaning as in Radiosity Rendering. 
Add New Meshes 

The faces of the current displayed Radiosity solution are converted to Mesh Objects with vertex 

colours. A new Material is added that allows immediate rendering. The input-Meshes remain 

unchanged. 
Replace Meshes 

As previous, but the input-Meshes are removed. 
Free Radio Data 

All Patches, Elements and Faces are freed in Memory. You must always perform this action after 

using Radiosity to be able to return to normal editing. 



Previous: Manual/Radiosity Rendering Contents Next: Manual/Materials 



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Introduction 



Introduction 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.45 



Introduction 

Before you can understand how to design effectively with materials, you must understand how simulated light 
and surfaces interact in Blender's rendering engine and how material settings control those interactions. A 
deep understanding of the engine will help you to get the most from it. The rendered image you create with 
Blender is a projection of the scene onto an imaginary surface called the viewing plane. The viewing plane is 
analogous to the film in a traditional camera, or the rods and cones in the human eye, except that it receives 
simulated light, not real light. To render an image of a scene we must first determine what light from the scene 
is arriving at each point on the viewing plane. The best way to answer this question is to follow a straight line 
(the simulated light ray) backwards through that point on the viewing plane and the focal point (the location of 
the camera) until it hits a renderable surface in the scene, at which point we can determine what light would 
strike that point. The surface properties and incident light angle tell us how much of that light would be 
reflected back along the incident viewing angle {Rendering engine basic principle.). 



Viewing 
Plana 




Rendering engine basic principle. 

Two basic types of phenomena take place at any point on a surface when a light ray strikes it: diffusion and 
specular reflection. Diffusion and specular reflection are distinguished from each other mainly by the 
relationship between the incident light angle and the reflected light angle. The shading (or coloring) of the 
object during render will then take into account the base color (as modified by the diffusion and specular 
reflection phenomenon) and the light intensity 

Using the internal raytracer, other (more advanced) phenomena could occur. In raytraced reflections, the point 
of a surface stroke by a light ray will return the color of its surrounding environment, according to the rate of 
reflection of the material (mixing the base color and the surrounding environment's) and the viewing angle. 
On the other hand, in raytraced refractions, the point of a surface stroke by a light ray will return the color of 
its background environment, according to the rate of transparency (mixing the base color and the background 
environment's along with its optional filtering value) of the material and the optional index of refraction of the 
material, which will distort the viewing angle. 

Of course, shading of the object hit by a light ray will be about mixing all these phenomena at once during the 
rendering. The appearance of the object, when rendered, depends on many inter-related settings: 

• World (Ambient color, Radiosity, Ambient Occlusion) 



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607 



Introduction Introduction 

• Lights 

• Material settings (including ambient, emmission, and every other setting on every panel in that 
context) 

• Texture(s) and how they are mixed 

• Material Nodes 

• Camera 

• viewing angle 

• obstructions and transparent occlusions 

• shadows from other opaque/transparent objects 

• Render settings 

• Object dimensions (SS settings are relvant to dimensions) 

• Object shape (refractions, fresnel effects) 



Previous: Manual/Radiosity Baking Contents Next: Manual/Materials in practice 



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Introduction Creating a new IVIaterial 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.45 

In this section we look at how to set up the various material parameters in Blender, and what you should 
expect as a result. We also give hints about practical material usage. 



Creating a new Material 



Every time a new Object is created it has no material linked to it. By pressing the F5 key or clicking on [^ 
you switch to the Shading context and the Material Buttons window appears. This window should be almost 
empty at this point. Adding a new material is done with the menu button shown in Add new material. 




U Add New 



ME:Cube.001 OB ■BI3 * Mat 



I. 

Add new material. 

Once the object has at least one material linked to it, many new panels (some tabbed) are readily displayed to 
allow you to precisely control the shading of the material. These settings, together with the Material Nodes, 
are called a "shader". 

Using each of these panels is discussed in this section. The preview panel attempts to show you what the 
shader will produce for different kinds of geometric basic shapes. Depending on your buttons window layout, 
some panels may be tabbed under others, or collapsed. 



Sharing l\/laterials 



Blender is built to allow you to reuse anything, including material settings, between many objects. Instead of 
creating duplicate materials, you can simply re-use an existing material. There are two ways to do this: 

• With the mesh selected, click the up-down selector arrow located to the left of the Material name. 
The popup list shows you all the current materials. To use one, just click on it. 

• In the 3D View, with Ctrl L you can quickly link all selected objects to the material (and other 
aspects) of the active object . Very useful if you need to set a large number of objects to the same 
material; just select all of them, then the object that has the desired material, and Ctrl L link them to 
that "parent". 



Color Management with the Color Picker Applet 



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Introduction 



Creating a new IVIaterial 




The term Color Management refers to using a consistent color theme, and specific set of colors, that 
complement each other and work well to convey the emotional intent of the graphic. There are a number of 
sites and tools that provide complementary color themes. Choose a theme, and save the pallette (a grid or srip 
of color swatches that make up the theme) and save it on your computer. In the example above, an 
ocean/organic theme of five colors, from green through yellow to a blue, are being used. The dark green is 
being used as a material diffuse color, while a lighter shade is used as the specular color. 

To use a color theme, load the pallette image in the UV/Image Editor. Then, when you want to choose a color 
for a lamp, material, texture, world background, etc, simply: 

1. On any Blender panel where a color is chosen, you will see a color swatch that reflects the current 
RGB settings. The example shows the material settings, where the diffuse Color is being set. 

2. Click that swatch, and a color picker applet will pop-up as shown. 

3. The applet shows you the currently selected color above the original color, one above the other, left of 
the RGB sliders. 

4. Click the eyedropper Sample button, and your cursor will change to an eyedropper. 

5. Move your cursor over the desired color in the UV/Image Editor window and click 

6. The eyedropper will "suck up" that color and set the current color (top swatch in the color picker 
applet window) to the new color. 

7. Click again to confirm the color 

It also might be acceptable, within a color scheme, to change the saturation or value of a color hue. To do so, 
after picking the hue, to alter the saturation or value of a hue, click on the HS V button, and the RGB sliders 
will change to HSV sliders. 

Changing the saturation balances the color against a neutral gray, as if more of the dye was allowed to 
saturate and permeate the material. The easy way I remember value is to think of the dilution of that ink in 
water; less value means that fewer drops of the ink are in the water, and the dye is therefore not as potent. 

^ Dropper samples a Pixel, not an image area average: 

the dropper (when used to sample a picture/image (e.g. in the UV/Image Editor window) or 
image-textured object may seem to return random colors. This is because the dropper samples a 
PIXEl, which in a photo image, you can have very different colors next to one another. 
Mousewheel up in your UV window to zoom in on your image and you will see that, for 
example, a red pixel next to a green pixel may look yellow at a lower resolution. 



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610 



Introduction Setting a Custom Color Scheme 

Setting a Custom Color Scheme 

In the above image, you will notice a vertical strip consisting of 16 mini-swatches, of 8 colors in 2 columns. 
By default, the left column is shades of gray, and the right column are some basic colors. If you LMB ?? click 
on one of these, that color will become the current color. If you Ctrl LMB tJ click on one of these, the color 
swatch will change to become the current color. Ctrl LMB K click to save your color scheme this way. 

These are session presets and remain active while Blender is mnning, even if you change files. If you re-start 
Blender, they reset back to original. 



Previous: Manual/Materials Contents Next: Manual/Material Preview 



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Material Preview 



IVIaterial Preview 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.42 



Material Preview 



Mode: All Modes 



Panel: Shading/Material Context Preview 



Hotkey: F5 



Description 

The Preview panel gives a quick visualisation of the active material and its properties, including its Shaders, 
Ramps, Mirror Transp properties and Textures. It provides many useful shapes that are very useful for 
designing new shaders: for some shaders (like those based Ramp colors or a Diffuse shader like Minnaert), 
one needs fairly complex or specific previewing shapes to decide if the shader-in-design achieves its goal. 



Options 

Flat XY plane 

Useful for previewing textures and materials of flat objects, like walls, papers and such. 
Sphere 

Useful for previewing textures and materials of sphere-like objects, but also to design metals and 

other reflective/transparent materials, thanks to the checkered background. 
Cube 

Useful for previewing textures and materials of cube-like objects, but also to design procedural 

textures. Features a checkered background. 
Monkey 

Useful for previewing textures and materials of organic or complex non-primitive shapes. Features a 

checkered background. 
Hair strands 

Useful for previewing textures and materials of strand-like objects, like grass, fur, feathers and hair. 

Features a checkered background. 
Large Sphere with Sky 

Useful for previewing textures and materials of sphere-like objects, but also to design metals and 

other reflective materials, thanks to the gradient Sky background. 
Preview uses OSA (oversampling) 

Whatever the preview option, it will make use of OSA (oversampling) in order to provide with a 

better quality. Disable this option if your computer is already slow or old. 



Examples 




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612 



Material Preview 



IVIaterial Preview 




Monkey preview. 



Hair Strands preview. Sky Sphere preview. 



Previous: Manual/Materials in practice 



Contents 



Next: Manual/Diffuse Shaders 



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613 



Diffuse Shaders Diffuse Shaders 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

Diffuse Shaders 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Material Context Shaders 

Hotkey: F5 



Description 

A diffuse shader determines, simply speaking, the general colour of a material when light is shined on it. Most 
shaders that are designed to mimic reality give a smooth falloff from bright to dark from the point of the 
strongest illumination to the shadowed areas, but Blender also has other shaders for various special effects. 



Options 

All diffuse shaders have the following options: 

Color 



Ref 



The base Diffuse color of the material 

The shader's brightness, or more accurately, the amount of incident light energy that is actually 
diffusely reflected towards the camera. 



Teclinical Details 

Light striking a surface and then re-irradiated via a Diffusion phenomenon will be scattered, i.e., re-irradiated 
in all directions isotropically. This means that the camera will see the same amount of light from that surface 
point no matter what the incident viewing angle is. It is this quality that makes diffuse light viewpoint 
independent. Of course the amount of light that strikes the surface depends on the incident light angle. If most 
of the light striking a surface is reflected diffusely, the surface will have a matte appearance {Light 
re-irradiated in the diffusion phenomenon.). 



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Lambert 



Lambert 



Lamp 



Viewing 
Plane 



< 



Cgjnere 




Reflected 

Light 

Angle 



Light re-irradiated in the diffusion phenomenon. 



Hints 



Some shaders' names may sound odd - they are traditionally named after the people who invented them. 



Lambert 



Mode: All Modes 



Panel: Shading/Material Context Shaders 
Hotkey: F5 




Lambert Shader 

Description 

This is Blender's default diffuse shader, and is good general all-around work horse... neigh! 



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615 



Oren-Nayar 



Oren-Nayar 



Options 

llanibert ^[pief 0.800 i^^ir | 



The Lambert diffuse shader settings. 

This shader has only the default option, determining how much of available light is reflected. Default is 0.8, to 
allow some other objects to be brighter. 



Oren-Nayar 



Mode: All Modes 



Panel: Shading/Material Context Shaders 
Hotkey: F5 




Oren-Nayer Shader 



Description 

Oren-Nayar takes a somewhat more 'physical' approach to the diffusion phenomena as it takes into account 
the amount of microscopic roughness of the surface. 



Options 



iQren-Nayi 



Ref 0.800 i 



RQugh:0.50»J — 



The Oren-Nayar diffuse shader settings. 

Rough 

The roughness of the surface, and hence, the amount of diffuse scattering 



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616 



Toon 



Toon 



Toon 



Mode: All Modes 



Panel: Shading/Material Context Shaders 
Hotkey: F5 




Toon Shader, Different Spec 



Description 

The Toon shader is a very 'un-physical' shader in that it is not meant to fake reality but to produce cartoon eel 
styled rendering, with clear boundaries between light and shadow and uniformly lit/shadowed regions. 




Toon Shader Variations 



Options 



Ref 0.800 I 



Si;e:0.500 kJ 



Smooth:0.1 rJ- 



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617 



Minnaert 



Minnaert 



The Toon diffuse shader settings. 



Size 



The size of the lit area 



Smooth 



The softness of the boundary between lit and shadowed areas 



Minnaert 



Mode: All Modes 



Panel: Shading/Material Context Shaders 
Hotkey: F5 



Minnaert Diffuse Shader (Refi 0,9. Darh ( .0) 


^^^^^^^^[^^^^H 




[?ffBl?^^^ 


mk as. Hard 50 Spec 1 .i. Hard 100 
Hr Rcfracbiofi S.O 


1 d^ 


. 


iL J 






^^^^ ^ 


i 


L Wardisco J 


k 


^ 


fe^ n?°c -^ 


f 


Smoflthi 


OS 


^ 


-''^lai.-' 


W 



Minnaert Shader 



Description 

Minnaert works by darkening parts of the standard Lambertian shader, so if Dar^ is 1 you get exactly the 
Lambertian result. Higher darkness values will darken the center of an object (where it points towards the 
viewer). Lower darkness values will lighten the edges of the object, making it look somewhat velvet. 



Options 



Minnaert 



Ref 0.800 . 



Darhil .000 _iJ — 



The Minnaert diffuse shader settings. 



Dark 



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618 



Fresnel 



Fresnel 



The darkness of the 'lit' areas (higher) or the darkness of the edges pointing away from the light 
source (lower). 



Fresnel 



Mode: All Modes 



Panel: Shading/Material Context Shaders 
Hotkey: F5 




Fresnel Shader, Different Spec 



Description 

With a Fresnel Shader the amount of diffuse reflected light depends on the incidence angle, i.e. from the 
direction of the light source. Areas pointing directly towards the light source appear darker, areas 
perpendicular to the incoming light become brighter. 




Fresnel Shader, Same Spec 



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619 



Fresnel Options 

Options 

Ref is the Reflectivity; amount of color reflected for each unit of light received. Fresnel is the power of the 
Fresnel effect, and Fac is the amount of the effect to blend in. 



Previous: Manual/Material Preview Contents Next: Manual/Specular Shaders 



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Specular Shaders Specular Shaders 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

Specular Shaders 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Material Context Shaders 

Hotkey: F5 



Description 

Specular shaders create the bright highlights that one would see on a glossy surface, mimicking the reflection 
of light sources. Unlike diffuse shading, specular reflection is viewpoint dependent. According to Snell's Law, 
light striking a specular surface will be reflected at an angle which mirrors the incident light angle (with 
regard to the surface's normal), which makes the viewing angle very important. 

Note 

It is important to stress that the specular reflection phenomenon discussed here is not the reflection we would 
see in a mirror, but rather the light highlights we would see on a glossy surface. To obtain true mirror-like 
reflections you would need to use the internal raytracer. Please refer to section RENDERING of this manual. 



Options 

Each specular shader shares two common options: 

Specular colour 

The colour of the specular highUght 

Spec 

The intensity, or brightness of the specular highlight. This has a range of [0-2], which effectively 
allows more energy to be shed as specular reflection as there is incident energy. 

As a result, a material has at least two different colours, a diffuse, and a specular one. The specular color is 
normally set to pure white, but it can be set to different values for various effects. 

Teclinical Details 



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CookTorr CookTorr 



< 



Viewing 
Plane CsJTiem 




Specular Reflection. 

In reality, Diffusion and Specular reflection are generated by exactly the same process of light scattering. 
Diffusion is dominant from a surface which has so much small-scale roughness in the surface, with respect to 
wavelength, that light is reflected in many different directions from each tiny bit of the surface, with tiny 
changes in surface angle. 

Specular reflection, on the other hand, dominates on a surface which is smooth, with respect to wavelength. 
This implies that the scattered rays from each point of the surface are directed almost in the same direction, 
rather than being diffusely scattered. It's just a matter of the scale of the detail. If the surface roughness is 
much smaller than the wavelength of the incident light it appears flat and acts as a mirror. 

If it is difficult to you to understand the relation between roughness' scale and light's wavelength, try to 
imagine a ball (say, of centimetre scale): if you throw it against a wall of raw stones (with a scale of roughness 
of a decimetre), it will bounce in a different direction each time, and you will likely quickly lost it! On the 
other hand, if you throw it against a concrete wall (with a roughness of, say, a millimetre scale), you can quite 
easily anticipate its bounce, which follow (more or less!) the same law as the light reflectiona€l 



CookTorr 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Material Context Shaders 

Hotkey: F5 



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Phong 



Phong 




Cook-Torrance Shader 



Description 



CookTorr (Cook-Torrance) is a basic specular shader that is most useful for creating shiny plastic surfaces. It 
is a slightly optimised version of Phong. 



Options 

Hard 



The hardness, or size of the specular highlight 



Phong 



Mode: All Modes 



Panel: Shading/Material Context Shaders 
Hotkey: F5 




Phong Shader 



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623 



Blinn Blinn 

Description 

Phong is a basic shader that's very similar to CookTorr, but is better for skin and organic surfaces 

Options 

Hard 

The hardness, or size of the specular highlight 



Planet Atmosphere 

Because of its fuzzyness, this shader is good for atmosphere around a planet. Add a sphere around the planet, 
slightly larger than the planet. For its material, use a phong specular shader. Set it very low alpha (.05), zero 
diffuse, low hardness (5) but high specularity (2). 



Blinn 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Material Context Shaders 

Hotkey: F5 




Blinn Shader 



Description 

Blinn is a more 'physical' specular shader, often used with the Oren-Nayar diffuse shader. It can be more 
controllable because it adds a fourth option, an index of refraction, to the aforementioned three. 



Options 

Hard 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 624 



Toon 



Toon 



Refr 



The hardness, or size of the specular highhght. The Blinn shader is capable of much tighter specular 
highlights than Phong or CookTorr. 

The 'Index of Refraction'. This parameter is not actually used to compute refraction of light rays 
through the material (a ray-tracer is needed for that), but to correctly compute specular reflection 
intensity and extension via Snell's Law. 



Toon 



Mode: All Modes 



Panel: Shading/Material Context Shaders 
Hotkey: F5 




Toon Specular Shader 



Description 

The Toon specular shader matches the Toon diffuse shader. It is designed to produce the sharp, uniform 
highlights of cartoon eels. 



Options 

Size 



Smooth 



The size of the specular highlight 
The softness of the highlight's edge 



Hints 



Toon shader can be also be accomplished in a more controllable way using ColorRamps. 



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625 



Ward ISO Wardlso 

Wardlso 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Shading/Material Context Shaders 

Hotkey: F5 




Wardlso Shader 

Description 

Wardlso is a flexible specular shader that can be useful for metal or plastic. 



Options 

rms 

rms controls, in effect, the size of the specular highlight, though using a different method to that of the 
other specular shaders. It is capable of extremely sharp highlights. 



Previous: Manual/Diffuse Shaders Contents Next: Manual/Material Options 



29/01/2009 13.49.52 626 



Materials 



Materials 



User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 



Materials 



Mode: All Modes 



Panel: Shading/Material Context Material 
Hotkey: F5 



Description 

Materials can be linked to objects and obData in the materials panel, of the Shading/Material context. Here is 
where you can manage how materials are linked to objects, meshes, etc. and activate a material for editing in 
the rest of the panels. 



Options 




Material Tab 

If there are no materials linked to the active object, the following options are available: 

Add New 

Add a new material and link it to the active object or object data. Like other datablocks. Blender will 
automatically set its name to Material.OOl and so on. It's a very good idea to give your materials clear 
names so you can keep track of them, especially when they're linked to multiple objects. 

Select an existing material f |~r[j 

Choose an existing material from a list. If there are LOTS of materials, you will see a choice 
"DataSelect". Click that and one of your windows will change to a data browser window, listing all of 
the materials for you to choose from. 



Links and Pipeline Options 



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627 



Materials Materials 




Render Pipeline 

Halo I ZTransp | - Zoffs: 0.000 



Full Osa Wire 



Only Cast 



L 



Links and Pipeline Tab 

With a material linked or created, further options are available: 

MA 



(Material name, I i|MA:Name Goes HerelX IfelTp 



Shift-click into this field to name your material 
Number of users (number field) 

The number of objects or obdata that use the material. This material is linked between the various 

objects, and will update across all of them when edited. Clicking this number will make a 'single user 

copy', duplicating the material, with it linked only to the active object/obdata. 
Auto f lfef j 

Automatically generates a (hopefully relevant) name for the material, based on the diffuse colour 
F (Fake user) 

Gives the material a 'fake user', to keep the material datablock saved in the .blend file, even if it has 

no real users 
Nodes 

Designates this material to be a material node noodle, and not from the Material/Ramps/Shaders 

settings. 

Datablock links '\ "R |BH' 

These two buttons determine whether the material is linked to the object or to (in this case) the mesh 
(or curve, nurbs, etc.). The ME button determines that this material will be linked to the mesh's 
datablock which is linked to the object's datablock. The OB button determines that the material will 
be linked to the object's data block directly. 

This has consequences of course. For example, different objects may share the same mesh datablock. 
Since this datablock defines the shape of the object any change in edit mode will be reflected on all of 
those objects. Moreover, anything linked to that mesh datablock will be shared by every object that 
shares that mesh. So, if the material is linked to the mesh, every object will share it. 

On the other hand, if the material is linked directly to the object datablock, the objects can have 
different materials and still share the same mesh. Short explanation: If connected to the object, you 
can have several instances of the same obData using different materials. If linked to mesh data, you 
can't. 

Material indices (F 1 Mati Tjj 

This shows how many materials you have for that obData and which one is currently active for 
editing. You can have multiple materials on an object and this can be done in the Editing Context (F9) 
in the Link and Materials Tab. See Manual/Multiple Materials for more info. 

Render Pipeline 

These toggles tell Blender where this material fits into the Render Pipeline, and what aspects of the 
material are to be rendered. 

Halo - Each vertex is a halo of light 

29/01/2009 13.49.52 628 



Materials 



Options 



ZTransp - Objects behind this one can shine through it 

Zoffs: A numeric input for offsetting the z-value; negative numbers puts this surface just in 

front of others assigned to the same mesh 
Full OSA - perform full over-sampling on this material to make it as smooth as possible 

where it overlays or intersects with other materials. 
Wire - render it in wireframe mode 
Strands-Colors static particles (hair, fur) 
ZInvert-renders faces inside-out. With OSA on, the render of one object against the 

backdrop of another object may occur after the render of the first object, and therefore the 

OSA calculation may pick up a halo or outline of the original backdrop. Use this option to 

disable this. 
Radio-material participates in Radiosity baking 

Only Cast - Material does not show up as a color, but just casts shadows onto other objects. 
Traceable-participates in ray tracing, if enabled during render 
Shadbuf-Can participate in shadow buffering, a faster alternative to raytracing 



Material Options 





■* 


^-♦- 


VCol Light 


VCol Paint 


TexFace | Shadeless 


No Mist 


Env 


Shad A 1.000 





pWilB 






Spe 


G 0.800 J^^^Hl— 




Mir 


B O.SOO ^^^Ml— 






HSV DVN A 1.000 



Material Tab 

Copy / Paste (^^} 

Copies the active material's settings / Pastes stored material settings into the active material 



Modes 



VCol Light: kinda like Halo, but each vertex's color is used as a light source 

VCol Paint: enables Vertex Paint 

TexFace: colors are taken from a UV Texture 

Shadeless - color is not affected by light or shadows 

No Mist - color is not obscured or faded by world mist 

Env - renders it invisible 

Shad A - this numeric control sets the Alpha value of shadows cast by this mesh, thus softening them 
Colors 

There are three colors to set: 
Col - Diffuse Color 
Spe - Specular Color 
Mir - Mirror Color . 

Clicking a color swatches brings up the color picker applet, which allows you to pick a pre-defined 

standard color, or click on the eyedropper to sample a color, or play with the RGB sliders, or play 

with the HSV box and click on a color inside the gradient. The RGBA sliders set the active color. 

Click Col, Spe, or Mir to activate a color settings for the sliders to set. 
Color Expression 

RGB is for Red Green Blue sliders; 

HSV changes the sliders to set Hue Saturation Value 
Dynamics 



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Materials Options 

For the Game Engine, these set up friction for the surface 



Previous: Manual/Specular Shaders Contents Next: Manual/Ramps 



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Materials Ramps 

User Manual: Contents I Guidelines I Blender Version 2.43 

Ramps 

Mode: All Modes 

Panel: Context Shading af sub-context Material af Ramps 

Hotkey: F5 



In many real life situations - like skin or metals - the colour of diffuse and specular reflections can differ 
slightly, based on the amount of energy a surface receives or on the light angle of incidence. The new Ramp 
Shader options in Blender now allow you to set a range of colours for a Material, and define how the range 
will vary over a surface, and how it blends with the 'actual colour' (typically from material or as output of 
texture). 



Description 

Ramps allow you to precisely control the colour gradient across a material, rather than just a simple blend 
from a brightened colour to a darkened colour, from the most strongly lit area to the darkest lit area. As well 
as several options for controlling the gradient from lit to shadowed, ramps also provide 'normal' input, to 
define a gradient from surfaces facing the camera to surfaces facing away from the camera. This is often used 
for materials like some types of metallic car paint, that change colour based on viewing angle. 

Since texture calculations in Blender happen before shading, the Ramp Shader can completely replace texture 
or material color. But by use of the mixing options and Alpha values it is possible to create an additional layer 
of shading in Blender materials. 



Options 

The Ramps panel is located in the Material context (F5). Here you can use the top two buttons to show either 
settings by pressing Show Col Ramp for diffuse or Show Spec Ramp for specular ramps (Ramps Panel). 



Ramps 



Show Spec Ramp 



Colorband 




Ramps Panel. 

Pressing the button Colorband enables Ramp Shaders. By default it opens with two colours, with the first 
having Alpha = 0, and no colour. And the second having Alpha = 1 and a cyan colour (Ramps Panel 
Colorband.). 

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Materials 



Ramps 





R 0.000 



G 0.000 



B 0.000 



Input 




Method 




Factor 


Shader 


± 


Mix 


i 


1.000 ia^HBll 



Ramps Panel Colorband. 

See the settings description of the colorband below . 

The two pop-up buttons and the value slider in the bottom of the panel defines how the Ramp Shaders work: 

Result 
Normal 
Energy 
Stiader 



Input popup menu. 

Input 

The input menu contains the following options for defining the gradient: 
Shader 

The value as delivered by the material's shader (like Lambert or Phong) defines the colour. 

Here the amount of light doesn't matter for colour, only the direction of the light. 
Energy 

As Shader, but now also lamp energy, colour and distance, is taken into account. This makes 

the material change colour when more light shines on it. 
Normal 

The surface normal, relative to camera, is used for the Ramp Shader. This is possible with a 

texture as well, but added for convenience. 
Result 

All three previous options work per lamp, this option only does it in the end of all shading 

calculation. This allows full control over the entire shading, including 'Toon' style results. 

Using alpha values here is most useful for tweaking a finishing touch to a material. 

Lighten 

Darken 

Difference 

Divide 

Screen 

Multiply 

Subtract 

Add 

Mix 



Method popup menu. 



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632 



Materials 



Colorbands 



Method 



A list of the various blending modes available for blending the ramp shader with the colour from 
Input. 



Factor 



1.000 




Factor slider. 



Factor 



The Factor slider denotes the overall factor of the Ramp Shader effect: 0.0 means no effect and 1.0 
means full effect. 



Colorbands 



Mode: All Modes 



Panel: Context Shading af sub-context Material af Ramps 
Hotkey: F5 



Description 

A colorband can contain a gradient through a sequence of many colours (with alpha), each colour acting 
across a certain position in the spectrum. Colorbands are used in both materials and textures, as well as other 
places where a range of colours can be computed and displayed. 



Options 




I Input 
I ShadE 



Method 



Factor 



Shader i 


Mix i 





Ramps Panel Colorband. 

Add 



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633 



Materials Colorbands 

Add a new mark to the centre of the colorband with default colours (neutral grey). New marks can 
also be added with Ctrl LMB B click on the colorband itself, which will add the mark at the position 
of the cl